Post-lockdown cultural ‘Transmission’

New Kibbutzim College Art Gallery exhibition in TA opens on Tuesday

A STILL IMAGE from ‘6480 Days’ by Ran Slavin. (photo credit: RAN SLAVIN)
A STILL IMAGE from ‘6480 Days’ by Ran Slavin.
(photo credit: RAN SLAVIN)
For Transmission, the opening exhibition of the new Kibbutzim College Art Gallery at 9 Ehad Haam St. in Tel Aviv, Lior Tamim rebuilt his 2019 work The Oracle, a machine that generates word combinations that never repeat themselves – in a cold mechanical voice.
Originally, the machine’s voice was built to emerge from an artificial pit, just like the fumes that would rise and inspire the Pythia (the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi) into sacred trance, but at the gallery, the voice comes from plain speakers.
“This machine creates mental images in the mind of the viewer,” Tamim said, “I come from a tradition of performances and working with the body. This is the first time I liberate my own person and create ‘bodiless’ art.”
The artwork is, in some sense “alive” because there are algorithms working in the background that ensure each time two words are spoken and appear briefly on the screen, they are unique and will never reappear. In theory, if plugged into the wall and left working for 60 years The Oracle would run out of things to say.
In hi-tech a lot of work is poured into the perfect voice to invoke feelings with the user, Tamim pointed out.
“Here I made the voice robotic to inform the user that this is a machine, not Alexa,” he jokes.
As chief curator Drorit Gur-Arie sees it, COVID-19 and the lockdowns and travel restrictions the pandemic forced on everyone placed digital tools at the center of humanity’s attention. Children attempted to study via screens, adults watched the evening news to know if they would be able to leave the country on a planned vacation and those returning home were told in a text message they were exposed to a sick person and must remain indoors.
The exhibition is an attempt to present a glimpse of the future alongside playful warnings against putting too much trust in the metallic all-knowing voice.
ADDITIONALLY, RAN Slavin presents 6480 Days, an art-video set in a futuristic Hong-Kong in which an unknown person is speaking to us from a future determined by the new reality of the plague.
Inspired by futurologist Monika Bielskyte, who coined the idea that “dreams bleed to the present,” Slavin presents a desperate attempt from a soul inhabiting a dystopia to reach those of us who are living now.
Much like the AI-inspired work by Tamim, Slavin’s work is polished and beautiful. The Hong Kong he shares with us is as exciting and alluring as a Netflix sci-fi version of it – or a soft-drink commercial located in the city. In a sense, the future the exhibition presents us with is already wrapped in the skin of the present moment.
This video, Slavin says, “is about drips [of insight]. It’s about the willingness to replace a dream with a thought because it is thought that, in a way, shapes reality. The person speaking to us is meant to be 18 years old, and he is describing a world he never saw – a flashback of a never-experienced normalcy.”
SHARON BALABAN, on the other hand, took the human need to find meaning and communicate with others and combined it with the most common thing in industrial design: a perforated metal sheet.
“In that industry,” she said, “it’s very common to use them for a variety of needs, like bus-stop benches. The holes make the sheet easier to carry and saves on the metal needed to make the product.”
In her video art, Flicker, she sticks her fingers into the holes in what appears like a person trapped behind a metal sheet, or a child at play, attempting to reach out for another person or signal something.
“The theme that binds all these works together is the sensation that language is collapsing into itself,” Gur-Arie said.
Fiercely devoted to art, she created Balcony, a collaboration between herself and other curators such as Doron Polak, Michael Lazar and many others from around the world.
The curators offered unique artistic videos that can be downloaded when a user scans a special code printed on a poster pasted on walls outside the gallery. In such a way, even during lockdown, art can find a way to enrich the lives of the public.
Transmission’ will open on Tuesday, February 23 at 9 Ehad Haam St. in Tel Aviv, the new art space operated by Kibbutzim College. In addition to the artists mentioned, the exhibition includes works by Shahar Marcus and additional artists (selected by Balcony) whose works can be seen via the codes outside the gallery. To learn more about Balcony please visit