Sharon Paz

“Be-longing” is a combination of video installation and performance. The content of the piece is based on a research of a house unfolding the biographies of different tenants along different periods of history. The script is a mixture of the collective history of Israel; wherein I wish to explore the more private history of a specific house and people. Presenting a house where the walls contain voices, conflicts, moments of different people in different historical contexts.

The work observes history, not as a objective discipline, but rather as a subjective personal history. Examining historical perception not as a chronological record or narrative describing past events, but as a collection of memories over time, creating a nonlinear timeline. This subjective timeline combines reality and fiction, dream and imagination. I wish to create an experience of time collapsing, connecting different points in history into one space and time.

The piece is based on a fictional family made up of four characters from different periods of time that live in the same house. A father, a mother, a son and a daughter- each carries his own historical load. The fifth character is an archeologist who approaches the family, asking to conduct an archeological dig under a closet. Because of the family historical dynamic his request reflects different meanings to each character. They all live together in the space, dealing with the notion of home, along subjects of ownership, territory, borders, longing and belonging.

In the center of the stage stands a cube, a space that simulates an interior of an apartment. The cube walls are partly open to the audience to see inside. The design is made up from minimal furniture and objects. The video projections on each facade focus on a singular historical time-frame and character, showing the relevant historical information. The video functions as a mirror of the area, locating the apartment in historical context and showing the inner world of the relevant character.

The main objective of the installation is to give the viewer multiple viewing points into the same space. The audience travels so to speak around the cube, seeing four different angles of the story. Each side is domineered by one family member, showing mainly his or her point of view about what is happening in the house, through the video.

The performance presents a psycho-political triangle between Palestinians, Israelis and Germans. The father, born in Germany, came to Israel after the Second World War. His presence in time is the year 1967. The daughter, born in Israel, is present now in 2007. The mother, who was born in Akko, lives in the year 1947. The son, born in Palestine, lives in the year 1987. The archeologist was born in Germany and functions also as a psychologist who tries to understand the family dynamics. Their conflicts are presented were each character speaks its own language, but still manages to communicate with the others.

“Be-longing” travels through layers of time, detecting patterns of history, bringing together the past and the present into a discourse of dissonance. The audience makes a journey with the characters unfolding the connections between layers, between the conflicts of longing and belonging and the similarities between their different realities. We all live with our own history, with stories that were told; with objects that once belonged to someone whom we have never met.

Sharon Paz 2007

Copyright © 2018 Sharon Paz. All rights reserved