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Image of the Absent by Ayellet Ben Ner


I bring good news to you: this year, with the support of the Edumedia-3 Research Group and Seedbed, we will celebrate the fourth version of “YoVeo (“I see”), The Festival Of Word And Image In First Person.»

This is an event in which we pay tribute to the different ways of representing and relating the Self, as an exercise and practice of freedom of expression with the purpose of generating a space for reflective exchange in relation to subjectivity, singularity and individualism.

The festival began in 2010 in Pereira (Colombia), a city in which we have gotten to fill four exhibition rooms of the Colombian-American Center, the Colombian-French Alliance, the University Foundation of the Andean Area and Comfamiliar Risaralda (the local family compensation office) with the support of Pereira’s Institute of Culture and Promotion of Tourism (today Secretary-of-Culture’s Office).

In this ten-year-long trajectory and in the three previous versions, artists, cartoonists, videographers, journalists, researchers, students, teachers and citizens in general from El Salvador, Guatemala City, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro have taken part.

«Image on the Absent, which might be described as a fictional life writing, seeks after the right assemblage of visual qualities that can depict a persona. This project exists in its Hebrew version in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art library and was exhibited in Sifria Balayla (Night Library) (Jerusalem 2014) and in the Artport artists book fair (Tel Aviv 2014). The project is inspired by notorious Adolf Eichmann, here a protagonist exploring his own image through self-revelatory confessions. These confessions are received and reproduced by a female sex worker. The English translation of the project was made by Ella Levenbach. Thanks are due to Yad Vashem, World Center for Holocaust Research, for permission to reproduce many of the images used in this piece».

Ayellet Ben Ner is a graduate student in the Cultural Studies program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her research on the Israeli sex industry has informed both her creative and academic work. (Persona Studies)

«While writing this text, at the end of January 2011, and running between my partner, whom I was taking care of since he suffers from a chronic lung disease, and the wording of my Yiddish & Avant-garde class final assignment, which will probably be about S. Ansky- Shloyme Zanvl Rappoport’s pen name, and will mostly focus on the fact that while he was touring the small Jewish towns of east Europe as part of his ethnographic delegation project, he returned to his original name in order to blur his identity as a writer and publicist, I received an email from a man who called himself E.

It is presumably the emotional stress that made me wonder, even before opening the email, about something that would seem irrational in any other circumstance; maybe that E stands for Eichmann, or Ansky, or maybe it stands for me, Ayellet» (p. 31)

«Die Treppe unter der Erde ermoglict die Sachen daruber Die Treppe unter der Erde erlauben die Ruckkehr ins Leben» Image for the Absent by Ayellet Ben Ner

«We are so immersed in the text that is lying in front of us that we forget the close presence of death.

He who is adhered by the aura is not part of the chronological time continuum and has no influence on what is part of that continuum, E argued. If he did so in order to justify an existential fallacy or for some other reason, I could not understand. It’s a nice way to avoid the question of whether the Scriptures are testimony or myth, but every text that projects an aura on its reader becomes holy and every act of reading during which direct contact between the text and its reader takes place, becomes a transformative one.

Thus the acts of reading and writing become timeless opportunities, instead of taking on their regular role – creation or confirmation of testimony or myth. When describing a timeless occasion of this sort, the face is not revealed in order to neutralize the chronological time continuum set by a subjective approach. Events that involve hiding or revealing of the face always carry within a defining moment that deviates from the time continuum and stays hanging in space forever.

He also said: memory is a phenomenological structure, he said; it builds itself.

So said E» (p. 21) – Image of the Absent –

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