My Neighbours, 2009
Installation, single channel video, 18.28 min., color, sound, English subtitles, 16 drawings, felt pen on paper, each 39 x 54 cm, framed
Ed. of 3 (+ 1 AP)

When the military operation Operation Cast Lead was carried out by the Israeli military in Gaza in January 2009, Artur Zmijewski was staying in Israel due to an artist residency. The war going on a few dozen kilometers away, the military propaganda in the media and the street demonstrations for and against the military operation caused a palpable state of social tension. Artur Zmijewski chose to visit his neighbors in Holon and in Tel Aviv and record their opinions on the subject. The artist created a short questionnaire and asked all dialog partners a similar set of questions: - How many victims are on the Israeli and Palestinian side until now? - Which weapons are used in the conflict on either side? - What became a direct reason to initiate the military operation? During the conversation, Zmijewski asked his dialog partners to draw their opinion while speaking. He followed the idea that visual communication is less inhibited than verbal communication. That is why the answers are radically honest. Even if the images were made by persons who had never painted or drawn before, the collection of drawings convey a response more genuine than any typical verbal communication could generate. Unable to discern what is a real fact and what is evoked through fear and panic, the film – together with the drawings – presents the state of mind of the Israeli citizens at a given point in time. The film is accompanied by 16 drawings.

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