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1970, Afula. Lives in Amsterdam and Tel Aviv.

Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For to you, and to your seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and will give to your seed all these lands. In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed.
Genesis 26:3,4
Yael Bartana presents Wild Seeds a two screen video projection of a group of 18-year-olds playing a game they invented themselves – ‘The Evacuation of Gilad’s Colony’. At the beginning of the game two teenagers are chosen to represent the authorities and they try to win the game by breaking up the rest of the group. The others link themselves in a circle and cling on tightly to each other’s arms, legs or whatever else they can grab. The larger image shows the teenagers playing the game, the camera circling around and among these pretend protestors refusing to leave their settlements. On another, smaller screen the viewer can read the subtitled translations of their screams and banter. This latter, isolated from the image, creates another narrative that is less about play and more overtly political and aggressive.
The video was filmed in the Occupied Territories amid the paradoxically beautiful landscape of Prat’s Settlement. The hills in the background create a strange rural backdrop to the symbolic, emotional and violent dimensions of the game. The teenagers themselves are third generation Zionists, not settlers and are in fact against the Israeli occupation of these territories. In many of her previous video works, Bartana has focused on the peculiarity of the rituals that form our national and cultural identities, often relating to the Israeli context but interpretable in many situations. This work hints at how children are formed by their environment and use it creatively, perhaps as an outlet for their fears or as a way of learning how to behave later as adults in the world.

Charles Esche


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