Images in the Air: Mom & Me, Me & Jonah
King David Boulevard, Tel Aviv, Israel
The interplay between what is physically present and what is perceived, imagined, and remembered affect our experience of place. National, civic, and personal events temper our understanding of the public realm. The challenge of accounting for perceptual reality, a reality constructed both from what we see and what we know -- a combination of internal and external awareness -- is elusive. Our sense of past inhabitations, the idea or knowledge that renders the opaque transparent, the emotion that transforms a space into a particular place -- invisible presences all -- each alter our perception and experience of the physical environment.
Images in the Air: Mom & Me, Me & Jonah, is a work in which visible and invisible objects on a site are viewed in relation to one another. The piece constructs the space of personal relation and memory that I encounter whenever I walk on King David Boulevard -- always aware that my parents and I once lived there; that the trees were planted around the time of my birth; that the City Hall Plaza, my landmark at the end of the street, was once an orange grove; and that now it is the place where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.
In this work, mental images of myself, my son, and my parents were placed in the public realm so that they might be seen together by others and stimulate consideration of memory and place. Snapshots of my parents and my infant self were paired with images of my infant son and me mimicking the same poses 35 years later. Translucent fabric panels, printed with these paired photos, were installed on the street where we lived. Images from the past become part of a new moment -- wind, sunlight, and people absorb them into the street.
The juxtaposition of multiple moments in time speaks to the layering of events in any particular place and the effect these events have on our experience. While the images are of specific mother/child pairings, the duplication reinforced the archetype of mother/child allowing others to recognize themselves. And while the memory is a personal one associated with a particular residential street, by its proximity to the site of Rabin's assassination and the shared knowledge of how people's perception of that place changed after that act, the questions raised extend beyond the personal to the ways in which ephemeral events affect experience of place in the culture at large Like the memorial which acknowledged that the space itself had changed character −− by simply inserting ground markers indicating where the assassin, the bodyguard, and the victim stood −− Mom & Me, Me & Jonah aspires to make visible what we see, what we know, what we choose to remember, and what we may wish to forget.
To download the video: Images in the Air (10MB)