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Title: Shifting Sands: Sand as Medium in Israeli New Media Art
Authors: Aldouby, Hava
Keywords: sand
generative art
Israeli art
Issue Date: 18-Oct-2017
Abstract: The proposed paper investigates, in a specifically Israeli context, the use of sand as a medium for projection of generative animation. Works by two Israeli media artists, Ronen Shaharabani and Shirley Shor, will serve as test cases for cultural and phenomenological consideration. The paper will highlight relevant precedents in media art history, primarily David Rokeby’s Silicon Remembers Carbon (1993/2000). In Shor’s Landslide (2011), and Terra Infirma (2017), real-time generative animations are projected onto shifting sand surfaces, suggesting a topography that blurs the line between “code and territory,” to adopt the artist’s Baudrillardian reference. In Shaharabani’s installation Sand Box (2014), minimalist white chairs serve as elementary particles, in a generative video projected onto sand. As the elements multiply and pile up, they dissolve into the sand, only to reemerge from entombment in an eerie resurrection. In Seven Elements (2017), houses of the Palestinian town of Issawiya in East Jerusalem, serve as elementary units evocative of toy building blocks. Manipulated through generative animation, they are projected onto seven sand boxes, generating a disturbing and simultaneously enticing effect. In Israeli art and visual culture, sand is associated with the Mediterranean coast and at the same time with the undomesticated Negev Desert. The city of Tel Aviv, springing in the 1910s from the sandy stretches of Mediterranean beach, epitomizes the resurrection of the Jewish people in a new nation-state, established precariously on shifting sands. The employment of sand as a ground for projection of virtual reality, will be interrogated in terms of these inherent tensions.
Description: Biography: Hava Aldouby, PhD, Open University of Israel, Department of Literature, Language and the Arts. Her main field of research is moving-image art, including experimental cinema, video art, and new media, focusing on haptic visuality, skin, and diasporic aesthetics. Her paper, ‘”Diasporic Skins”: A Somato-Cultural Exploration of the 56th Venice Biennial’, was presented at AAH 2016 (University of Edinburgh) and is forthcoming in Art Journal. She is the author of Federico Fellini: Painting in Film, Painting on Film (U Toronto Press, 2013), and contributor to Ori Gersht: History Reflecting (Boston: MFA Publications, 2014). Her paper ‘The Physical Anxiety of the Form Itself: A Haptic Reading of Phil Solomon’s Experimental Films,’ was published in Projections 10:1 (2016). She is currently involved in an experimental project in neuroaesthetics, investigating haptic engagement with moving image art in an innovative VR experimental paradigm. In November 2016 she organized at the Open University of Israel an academic conference on “New Media and the Arts: Challenges and New Insights,” with keynote speaker Prof. Oliver Grau.
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