Performance (Yiddish/English/Polish/Hebrew)Presented at The Neighbour Next Door Festival (Sasiedzi dla Sasiadów – edycia V), Warsaw, Poland / Jewish Film Festival, Jerusalem /   Belfast Exposed – Interface – Ullster University, Belfast,-24.5.06 / CCA – Tel-AVIV/   ForumStadtPark, Graz, Austria – In the frame of Under_Ctrl Project, curated by Basak Senova – 31.3-2..4.06/ NYU, New York, February, 2006/ The Upgrade International, Eybeam, New York, September, 2005 / Blurrr 5- Bienniale of Performance Art, November, 2005/ Jewish Film Festival, Jerusalem Cinematec, December 2005/ 8 Metula’s Poetry Festival; Metula, June 2005 /As an installation was presented as part of “Eclipsed Voices”, OpenSpace, Vienna | Curator: Basak SenovaElephants in the Nights of Metula is an performance and installation that includes video, digital slides, film, animation, and dual audio in Yiddish and English. The performance is based on the texts of the Yiddish poet Avrom Sutzkever (1913-2010), re-contextualizing his poetry in the historiography of Israeli literature from a contemporary perspective.

The story told in the installation deals with the harsh Israeli cultural control policies with respect to the Jewish diaspora cultures existing in the 50’s, and which in its turn represented a process of hegemonization of resulting in a new Hebrew culture.
This project is a continuation of our performance work dealing with texts and poetry. The piece also relates to our research on the gap between the written letter (the text), its voiced expression, the body and the icon, and visual, cultural and sound translations.
Avrom Suzkever, who passed away last January at the age of 96 years, was indeed one of the greatest poets in the Yiddish language, and was also recognized as of the most prominent poets of the 20th Century. Despite his talent and originality, Since his writings were in Yiddish; he remained almost unknown in Israel.
The poems in this booklet are in 4 different writings:
– Yiddish
– Yiddish (transliteration in Latin letters)
– English written through truespel transliteration, a phonetic system for English writing
– English translation in Braile (graphic)
[“Elephants in the Nights of Metula” text by Sala-Manca]
The “off-the-record” narratives have the potential to generate voids in the vortex of registered histories. As an ever-changing representation of the past, “memory” constructs new patterns to read history. Collective memories alter their content with social, political, and economical changes in time. Thus, individual memory develops in interaction with the diverse realities of social inputs. Our memory shapes our lifestyles, political and ideological positions. Yet, in the process of remembering, each time, we reconstruct a memory by adding or changing details.  Therefore, memories are never stable. At the same time, the acts of confrontation, integration, and adaptation are possible only through these ephemeral and fragmented memories since they indicate the construction of defence mechanisms for us to cope with life.
In any case of political and economical imposition and repression, identities have systematically been lost and fragmented. At personal levels, identities are re-constructed with fragmentation of the narrations -as memory extracts- and the disconnected temporality of multiple realities.
With each work, we clearly witness such narratives in different verbal and visual levels –in every possible layer: political, territorial, spatial, psychological, economical, social –in every possible layer: political, territorial, spatial, psychological, economical, social– in each work. This collection of works touches upon the issues of the control of the memory as each work clearly manifests how individual stories about the past interact with existing narratives and other forms of remembrance. It is inevitable that these memories will continue to change, once there is no one alive to tell the tale from their own experience. For this project, this fact activates the motivation behind the obsessive attempt to document personal narratives as eclipsed voices.
Text by Basak Senova
Back to Top