Social Practice Artist | Torah Scribe | Arts Educator
מבוי סתום | Dead End
The Janco Dada Museum of Ein Hod, Israel curated a show of works by immigrants to Israel, those for whom Hebrew is a foreign language. This piece is about barriers. The name Mevoi Satum: Dead End is also the name of an organization that works to free Jewish women from the captivity of marriages they no longer want to be in, a topic I have addressed in my artwork and a deliberate reference to the plight of these women.
The plastic bubble is constructed from the plastic sheeting Israelis use to seal a “safe” room during the threats of chemical warfare. The symbolism of this particular plastic represents the sealed “room”, the sealed culture, between two worlds. The inner world is the world of Hebrew speakers and the outer world is the world of immigrants, the world I inhabit. The only passage way into the inner world is through a small opening in the plastic bubble. Only a very few are admitted and space is limited. Inside the inner room is a school chair covered in torn pieces of the Hebrew-English/English-Hebrew dictionary, a testament to the hours and hours of time in the classroom dedicated to the learning of the language. On the chair rests an English typewriter – no longer working, no longer useful. No longer. All around hang the torn pieces of a mainstream Hebrew newspaper. The fan that inflates the bubble from the small opening causes the newspaper shreds to oscillate in a flurry of movement that keeps one from reading them, evoking the emotions of trying desperately to make sense of a culture and language that is constantly in movement, constantly shape shifting. The words and symbols written upon the bubble are from my own inner dialogue in which I contemplate the state of foreigner, the fate of language, the plight of other.
On opening night, accompanied by my contact improvisation dance teacher, an Israeli native, we dance before a crowd of 300 - she inside the bubble and I on the outside, exploring the notion of boundaries through this filmy layer that separates and, sometimes unites, our worlds.