Project Year: 2010-11
Location: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, CT and The Wexner Center for the Arts, OH
MetroPAl.IS. is an 8-channel video installation in-the-round, 11 minutes in length. The artwork was created with 24 members of the Israeli and Palestinian communities of New York City, who perform a seamless hybrid text that I created which combines the Israeli and Palestinian Declarations of Independence. The two original declarations are startlingly and tragically similar in many regards (though not entirely.) The piece is performed in an almost Shakespearian register -Greek choir style- with participants alternating between holding static statuary poses and active, animated ones. Israelis perform only words from the Israeli Declaration, Palestinians perform words only from the Palestinian Declaration, yet both groups also perform shared words that are common to both documents and that are very substantial in number. The 24 performers are loosely organized as a series of New York “types”: e.g. two Williamsburg hipsters –one Palestinian, one Israeli-, two Jersey Girls, two NYC Urban Street youth, etc. This was because I wanted to engage each group’s shared, secondary hybrid identity –that of being New Yorkers- in order to oxygenate the frozen narrative between these two communities. I also wanted to explore the mutability of layered identities, communal affiliation, and national aspiration, and to defy expectations of what it means to be an Israeli, a Palestinian, and a New Yorker, and by extension, an American. MetroPAL.IS. was commissioned and exhibited by the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.