My work strives to develop an intermedia performance that originates from the forms movement and sculpture, but expands their possibilities. I create performance art that can be read in sculptural terms and sculptures that suggest movement. In “One Thing Leads to Another,” a dancer wears an ice skates sculpture cast in 100 pounds of concrete, giving an immediate sense of a frustrated urge to move. Other pieces create social spaces and forge temporary communities through multisensory play. Since 2008 I have been working with inflatables: army parachutes, hot-air balloons, and huge hand-made bubbles that serve both as performance props, and as stand alone moving sculptures that the audience can enter. These colorful bubbles invites visitors to go into a meditative state, immersing themselves in the bright colors or music, and interact with one another in play.
In my performance and video work, time and movement become static -- sculptural -- through repetition. They are similar to the processing of trauma, where a past event is relived in the mind over and over again, without resolution, and in this way becomes cemented as a part of the person rather than an isolated experience. Ritual mimics our preoccupation with traumatic experiences: the same actions are repeated cyclically, the same objects take center stage. Indeed, people who have experienced trauma often create personal rituals that are intensely meaningful to them, albeit incomprehensible to others. In “Part Blue”, a dancer is trapped inside a large rubber see-through ball, with enough air for only thirty minutes. As she runs across the space, the ball is slowly covered up with fog from her breath.
Personal rituals can isolate one from others. A communal ritual, based on empathy, binds participants together. By incorporating ritual into my work, I transform the alienation of personal trauma into community. For example, I use mirrored movements to create an experience of radical empathy and identification between people. Recently, I built motion sensors into the sculptural installations which respond to the audience’s movements as they pass by -- an empathetic response built into the environment.
In 2013 I formed The Moving Company, a collective of artists who focus on researching movement as an expression of empathy. Over time, The Moving Company has evolved from a hands-on study group to an active international performance ensemble. The group consists of twelve interdisciplinary “movers,” including dancers, video artists, sculptors, actors, musicians, and a curator. Most of the movers are immigrants, which has created a complex and rich conversation around emotions and cultural heritage. The collaborative process is inevitably a process of negotiation and compromise, which I regard as a goal of its own. In addition to the performances, we have worked for the past two years with groups of teens in Brooklyn on performance and zine publication.
My personal experience often serves as a catalyst for my work. I grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family in Jerusalem among strong religious and political ideologies. Leaving the orthodox world, I was drafted into mandatory service as an educator in a paratroopers’ unit in the Israeli army for two years. My resistance to the rigidity of the religious and military worlds has since found expression through an intuitive art practice which celebrates fluidity, spontaneity, collaboration and differences, all of which are ways of relinquishing control. At the same time, my religious upbringing is present in my ritualistic performances. The very first such project was “The Standing Prayer,” where I walked from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in a “kinetic ritual” once a month for three years, in the opposite direction of the traditional Jewish pilgrimage.