Us and them | Video art
Us & Them- site specific performance
Kibbutz Hokuk 22.10.2020
I live in Kibbutz Hokuk Israel. In the northern region. A Kibbutz is a special way of living
that has changed her characteristics throughout the years and there are deep emotional
residues to these changes. A kibbutz . "gathering, clustering"; is a collective community
in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. The first kibbutz, established in 1909.
Kibbutzim began as utopian communities,In recent decades, most kibbutzim have been privatized and changes have been made in the communal lifestyle enabling people to come
and live in the kibbutz as residents
I came to live in Hokuk 3 years ago after living all my life in the city.
I discovered There is a deep conflict here between two groups in the kibbutz,
the first are the people who lived here all their lives and created this place
and their next generation and the second is a group of people who came
to live here as residents.
The conflict is very complex with various points of view. The incentive for me to do this performance was the emotional experience of living here with the concept of "us" and "them" that is so significant and is tragically impacting life here creating an intense polarity.
My performance wants to touch the subject of the "us" and "them".
Without addressing the unique narrative, on the contrary it aims to emphasize that the narrative is not the main,the performance wanted to give the opportunity to meet a different perspective of the “us and “them” taking the assumption that we are sometimes the “us” and sometimes the “them”, it aimed to arouse the emotional response to living with the splitting concepts within and to create a small bridge to create a meeting point.
The site: there are two neighborhood one in front of the other, one of them represents
the group of the residents and their unique characteristics , and the other represents the “kibutznic". It is hard to define because this is almost the heart of the story but we will
call them like this is order to understand. The is a street separating these two neighbourhoods. On a personal level I lived in the new (resident) neighbourhood for 3 years and last week for
the first time crossed the street to the " other side". This was a strong mirror for the action needed. The performance took place in the gap between both neighbourhoods- where it is clearly the "us" and "them" zone/ ( there are few places like that in the kibbutz).Due to coronavirus, I was allowed to include 20 participants in the performance. I invited 10 people from each “group” the “us” and the “them”.
This in itself was an extremely sixiphoc action because I was refused many times by one
of the groups because of lack of trust. This was a true challenge to bring 10 people from one
of the groups , the invitation was to come to a performance- meeting - game in the street between the 2 neighborhoods. In the performance I drew in advance 2 parallel lines with chalk on the pavement, and when the people arrived I invited all the left handed to stand on one line and all the right handed to stand on the parallel line. Then I asked all the people who prefer
to take a bath to stand on one line and the shower people to stand on the parallel line..
Like this we continued with various questions I prepared when they were all the time crossing the lines and meeting each other in different categories , touching the similarities and not only the differences. The questions were developing in their level of exposure. There were questions that the answer was not black or white and people started to stand between the lines and to share experience and stories. In the end there were 2 additional actions - 1. To organise themselves in one line between the 2 lines by their names in the alphabetical order ( it was astonishing to reveal how many live here for years and to not know the names of one another) and the second actions was to arrange themselves by the color of the eyes including inner shades from bright to dark , this action created a scene where they were all concentrated in looking deeply one into the others eyes.