Reside 1.1: Jesse Cohen.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
To the unfamiliar ear, Jesse Cohen sounds like a fairly common boy or girl’s
However, in Israel the name carries a whole world of connotations,
many negative. The Holon neighborhood that shares this everyday name is known as
the poorest and most dangerous location in the country and a point of contention
in modern Israeli society.
To say that you live in Jesse Cohen is to say
that you reside in the fibers of an intricately woven cloth comprised of
poverty, crime and a wealth of incredible stories.
While most people
avoid the area at all costs, filmmaker and multimedia artist Daniel Landau made
a beeline for the heart of the neighborhood. Throughout the creative process of
his newest work Reside 1.1: Jesse Cohen
, he spent hours upon hours exploring the
streets and meeting the locals. The piece premiered in Basel, Switzerland, in
late 2011 as part of the Culturescapes cultural exchange. Landau will present
the Israeli premiere of this innovative work this month at the Suzanne Dellal
In 2009, Landau initiated the One Dimensional Man Project, which
merged his two interests, documentary film and theater.
inception of this project, Landau presented an evening-length work that revealed
his brand of multi-media performances. He projected excerpts from interviews
onto large masks worn by the dancers.
The juxtaposition of these filmed
images onto the live body jolted audiences and became the base for Landau’s work
on Reside 1.1: Jesse Cohen.
“We are engulfed in screens and media,” said
Landau in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post.
“I’m interested in
how these things affect the body. How does the body respond to all the media
surrounding it?” He began by taking a room in the local community center. “I
spent half a year in the neighborhood,” he says. “I lived there,
Landau set out to get a feel for the people who inhabit
“For the performance, I edited over 70 hours of footage,”
he explains. “I had a meeting with the commerce board, and they were shocked at
how much I was able to uncover in my time there. I worked in an unconventional
manner, which afforded me the opportunity to get to facts that were deep in the
community. The act of documenting in an artistic way let me into a whole world
of personal stories.”
Landau then handed over his footage to
choreographer Anat Danieli, who worked with the three dancers of the piece in
“Anat met up with me after the filming. She saw the film for
the first time in the studio, so she never met the people whose stories we are
presenting,” he says.
Also a part of the creative process was artist
Jackie Shemesh, whose collaboration with Landau dates back to the beginning of
the One Dimensional Man Project.
“Jackie was a conceptual partner for
this project. We sat and distilled the ideas together.”
Once he had
assembled enough edited footage, Landau invited the locals to a
“It’s a social project. The vision of the project was to film
everything in the neighborhood.
Then we had a performance there; I didn’t
want to take it out of the neighborhood. I wanted to give to the place as
The Israeli premiere of this work marks the second phase of
Landau’s plan. “I see there being three rings to this project,” he explains.
“The first was to show it in Jesse Cohen; the second is to present it to Israeli
audiences around the country; and the third is to offer it to international
Though he used documentary film techniques to create this
work, Landau feels that the piece strikes a chord far beyond
“It’s far beyond documentation,” he says. “It’s much more
than a story of a ’hood. In this show, the dancers aren’t under the masks all
the time. They are both behind the mask and responding to it. The images create
a sense of connection and emotion in the dancers. The contrast between their
connection to the filmed characters and their separation from them is pivotal in
this work,” he says.
Reside 1.1: Jesse Cohen will be performed on
February 27 at 9 p.m. at the Suzanne Dellal Center. For tickets, visit
www.suzannedellal.org.il.For more information about the project, visit
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