Tel Aviv’s new central bus station is an unusual building filled with twists and
turns. Nearly every person who visits the transportation hub gets lost at some
point in the labyrinth of dark hallways or winding staircases between bus
platforms. If you’re lucky, one of these excursions will lead you to the doors
of Miklat 209. Behind the gritty exterior of harsh concrete walls lies this
center for performance art, housed in the most unlikely of places.
enter Miklat 209, home of Ensemble 209, is to be magically transported into a
world of creation. Performance art guru Tamar Raban, whose previous works
have included the majestic Old Wives Tales and Amplifier, directs the space. For
the past seven years, Raban has also hosted and curated the annual Zaz Festival,
which will take place during Hanukka this season, from December 6 through
The Zaz Festival invites Israeli and international
performance artists to interact with various audiences, public arenas and
performance spaces. For the first time, this year’s festival will branch out to
include events in Haifa and Jerusalem, as well as Tel Aviv. Local artists to
participate in this year’s program include Guy Gutman, Ya’acov Chefetz, Sarit
Talmor and Hadas Efrat. Joining these artists will be Dorothea Rust from
Switzerland, Waldemar Tatrczuk from Poland, Ashmina Ranjit of Nepal, Ko Siu Lan
from Hong Kong and many others. These practitioners will each take on a
particular nook or cranny, from the sidewalk to the bus platforms to the main
stage in Miklat 209.
Performance art is a wide and deep field, one that casts an umbrella over a
range of actions from outdoor dance performances to civil action. One of the
defining characteristics of performance art is its relation to interdisciplinary
works. A relatively new field, performance art has been developing rapidly since
its emergence as an art form in the 1960’s.
The Zaz Festival provides a
platform for many different types of artists, all functioning within the
somewhat blurry context of the performance art field. As such, the events
range from carefully rehearsed pieces to spontaneous action. Some focus on
sound, while others veer towards movement. For audience members who are baffled
by the amount of options available, Miklat 209 will offer an organized tour
through the installations during the weekend. Entitled “Foreign Work,” the
three-hour tour will take place in Miklat 209, as well as in the corridors of
the bus station.
Beyond the multitude of performances in this year’s
program, the festival has also arranged a rich roster of workshops for
professional, intermediate and first-time performance artists. These meetings
will take place throughout the 10 days of events and will offer interested
parties a chance to create their own mini-pieces. There will also be question
and answer sessions with leaders from the field about the possibilities of
taking performance outside of the proscenium theater into the real world.
Workshops will take place in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem and are offered at
discounted rates for students.The Zaz Festival will take place from December 6 through December 15. For more
information, visit www.miklat209.org.il.