Event Date: March through April, 2019

Courtesy of Maya Smira and Samira Hashemi

List of works, in order of appearance:

1. Maya Smira and Samira Hashemi

Israel-Iran, 2013 9:28 min.

2. Ohad Maromi

Worker! Smoker! Actor!, 2012, 20:36 min.

3. Tom Pnini

FunTom/Masarik, 2009 ,11:43 min.

4. Gilad Ratman

The Days of the Family of the Bell, 2012, 4:57 min.

5. Tom Pnini

PAPERWEIGHT, 2017, 9:11 min.

The videos participating in this new cycle of video art programing at Parallel all revolve around the theme of balance vs. loss of control. The videos explore these ideas both concretely and metaphorically: at times equilibrium is expressed as a physical task while in others as a metaphor, life goal, or political reality. One piece concentrates on the possibility of finding— or losing —balance by striking a challenging physical position, while another uses the physical to make a statement regarding power struggles in the political realm. Two works express the loss of control and tipping off balance through whimsical play or overflow of energy, suggesting that one’s search for stability and attempting to hold chaos at bay is an obstacle for creativity and joy, and the last piece deals with the idea of work-life balance through the story of a factory worker.

Maya Smira and Samira Hashemi’s work shows two women of similar built and appearance as they push one another, which despite their full exertion of power, they don’t move. But as they use their full force to unbalance the other, they also maintain the other’s position. The title of the piece, Israel–Iran, takes this physical exercise into the realm of politics as the artists make a commentary on the current state of affairs in the Middle East, suggesting that the two countries use their full force of intimidation to hold the other at bay, a level of force that is deemed absurd by the two artists.

Ohad Maromi’s Worker! Actor! Smoker! mocks the idea of work-life balance by a narrative which escorts a factory worker from her job, to the supermarket, and—when she becomes ill—to a resort, which becomes another assembly line. The piece explores this theme through sequences combining live actors, stop-motion animation and texts from Vsevolod Meyerhold’s “Biomechanics,” an actor-training method which imagines a utopia where the boundary between work and performance, work and play, is eliminated.

In The Days of the Family of the Bell, Gilad Ratman erects a human tower composed of individuals. The participants lay down on a black carpet in different configurations and structures, and were filmed by a camera that was attached to the ceiling, in reference to a century-old technique invented by the Spanish filmmaker Segundo De Chomon. The result is an illusion: a structure that is defined by an alleged instability yet actually speaks to the stable and symbiotic relationships among the participants.

Tom Pnini’s two contributions for this cycle– FunTom/ Masarik and PAPERWEIGHT– explore what happen when things go out of balance, as they celebrate the accidental and chaotic. PAPERWEIGHT depicts a writer struggling to finish his last masterpiece and battling the demons of creation. The video, which was filmed as a one-shot/one-take uses the accumulation of shredded paper, a drizzle that becomes an avalanche, as a metaphor for losing control. The same motif of boundless energy so that balance is lost is also at the heart of FunTom/ Masarik, where the water of a public fountain is taken over by bubbles overflowing onto the street.