Making contact

Contact Point, an all-night arts festival at the Israel Museum, returns on July 12.

Contact Point (photo credit: Courtesy)
Contact Point
(photo credit: Courtesy)
When she took on her new role as artistic director of the Contact Point multi-act event, Renana Raz had the benefit of a comprehensive overview of the project.
“I took part in Contact Point the first time it took place two years ago as a dancer, so when I started this work I already knew how the whole thing looked. That helped me a lot,” Raz recounts.
In truth, Raz had her work cut out for her in putting together a rich and diverse artistic program for Contact Point, which will take place at the Israel Museum on July 12, starting at 8 p.m. and ending at 3 a.m. The event is subtitled “Expect the Unexpected,” and that conveys the spirit of the program pretty well.
The lineup includes veteran radio DJ Yoav Kutner, folkrock Habiluim band frontman Noam Inbar, singer-songwriter Rona Keinan, veteran actors-comedians Menasheh Noy and Keren Mor with an intriguing art-based slot, and US-born actor-musician Yonatan Kunda.
There will be 25 locations around the museum compound where artists will perform.
Each act will be short.
However, even so, it won’t be possible to catch everything in one go. With that in mind, Raz arranged for each performance to take place three times through the evening and night.
Raz says the artistic program feeds off its physical milieu. “I decided it was very important to generate continuity among the various spots where the artists will perform around the museum grounds,” she notes.
“The museum covers such a large area, and I wanted the acts to lead on to each other and that the visitor should realize there is something special happening as soon as he comes through the museum entrance.”
Raz has not taken any chances on unsuspecting members of the public thinking they are in for only a regular round of the institution’s exhibitions. Choreographer Noa Shadur has created a work for four dancers, who will perform in the pool near Menashe Kadishman’s Tension sculpture right by the entrance to the museum site. Considering the weather we have had of late, some patrons might be tempted to join the performers in the water.
“That is a sort of declaration of intent,” Raz declares. “We are used to regarding museums as something sterile, but on this evening all of us will mingle among the works.”
According to the artistic director, Contact Point is very much a two-way street, on several fronts. Some of the acts will take their lead from the aesthetics of their physical surroundings, and some of the works will invite the observers to interact with them.
“For this year’s program I wanted very much to create some kind of dialogue between what the artists do and the museum spaces,” says Raz. “I think that enhances the experience of being in the museum.”
There are other Contact Point interfaces designed to impact on the way we view the museum exhibits and art itself. The Children’s Channel work, for example, created by Yonatan and Masha Tzur, feeds through the museum’s audio guide system.
“We installed new material in the system, and people will be able to listen to what kids have to say about various works in the museum,” Raz explains. “That will enable adults to gain a fresh perspective on things that are very familiar to them. I think it will also give them a softer approach to the museum.”
Elsewhere in Contact Point, there will be an abundance of music – live and of the recorded variety. Three musician-DJs – Kutner, Benny Basahan and Dan Toren – will take turns playing their favorite music throughout the evening, while Keinan will perform a repertoire of songs of love, revulsion, admiration and in praise of God in the Architecture Wing’s Holyland Gallery. Avi Ha Zamar will lead Henry Moore’s Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae in a dance; radio personality Eran Sabag will play, sing and talk about the connection between Hassidism and the blues from the new Hassidism exhibition; and Rafik Kimchi will lead a blindfolded group on a tour of part of the museum.
Add to that an encounter with bats, stargazing and an electronic music lounge in the Shrine of the Book, between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. as the closing slot of the program, and you get a pretty rich and varied evening-night out for the whole family.
For more information: (02) 670-8811.