A night at the museum

The fourth annual Contact Point at the Israel Museum invites audiences to get cozy with art.

 Israel Museum shadow dancing 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Israel Museum)
Israel Museum shadow dancing 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Israel Museum)
As kids, going to the museum usually meant lowering our voices, keeping our hands firmly by our sides and generally being on our best behavior. As adults, the rules have remained pretty much the same. Tonight, guests of the Israel Museum’s fourth annual Contact Point will be asked to do quite the opposite. The event, which is curated by Renana Raz, invites audiences to get cozy with art, take a closer look and reexamine the way we interact in a museum environment.
In recent years, more and more choreographers have begun to present work in galleries and museums as a means of reaching out to audiences that perhaps do not regularly attend dance performances. The openness of these spaces also allows for unconventional interactions.
For example, independent choreographer Maya Brinner will present her solo, Forest, amid the sculptures, video and paintings of Yehudit Sasportas’ Seven Winters.
Raz, who saw common ground between Sasportas’ eerie landscape and Brinner’s solitary dance, made the connection between the two artists.
“I’ve never done this before,” said Brinner, “but I love these occurrences, they offer something new to both the audience and to me.”
Months ago, when putting together the lineup for Contact Point, Raz approached Brinner.
“In the exhibit there is a video with a forest or kind of a swamp and there is a little bit of movement all the time. It’s a dark forest,” said Brinner. “When Renana saw it she thought of my solo. She told me about the video and asked me to come and see if I could relate to it. I really felt that it was right for the solo. Then I began a process of taking apart the solo and putting it back together to suit the room that the Yehudit’s exhibition is housed in.
“It wasn’t about creating something new, rather taking apart the solo and making it again in the world that belongs to someone else. It is more like a duet between me and Yehudit’s video now.”
In Forest, which premiered in the 2011 Curtain Up Festival at the Suzanne Dellal Center, Brinner explores the idea of repetition and memory.
“It’s a piece that deals with emotional and behavioral patterns, with erasing and creating new memory. Maybe it’s just me but I see all these things in Yehudit’s work as well, in this strange forest that is constantly stripping itself down and rebuilding itself.”
Until now, Brinner has performed Forest on the stage, where both sides accept the divide between dancer and audience member.
Tonight, the audience will have a great deal more freedom to decide how and when they want to view the work.
“The audience will sit on three sides of the space, I think,” she said. “It’s a much more vulnerable place, unlike the stage which is very clear... here performers, there audience, where no one goes into the other’s space. I find the instability of this situation very exciting. It’s an unknown.”
Throughout the evening, Brinner will perform Forest four times.
Contact Point will take place for one night only, from eight in the evening until three in the morning. Performances will include live music, DJs, theater, dance and performance art. Entrance includes access to all the exhibitions and performances in the museum compound. This year, the directors of Contact Point put an emphasis on active viewing, making each audience member a potential participant in the action.
For more information about Contact Point, visit www.imj.org.il.