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Orit Adar Behar
Creation's Details

Title: An Educational Unit
Year: 2006
Dimensions: 150x110x90 cm.
Material: Video sculpture



This work aspires to transmit information, to teach. It is constructed as an educational tool - different types of learning and content are interconnected and are equally important.

1. The videos’ structure is based on the memorization of sentences and their repetition. The small gaps created between the different spokesmen were intended to create listening and concentration in the observer. In one of the films, the characters speak lashon hara – gossip. No criticism is given and the image of the teacher disappears, but the effect of the memorization and the obsessive repetition of the gossip in exactly the same formulations takes the sting out of the words and creates a comical effect.
2. Internalization is created through identification with the speakers (and not necessarily with what is said). The characters who fail in their speech create a situation in which what was meant to be a fluid text becomes a collection of utterances of confusion and failure which create empathy and identification in the observer. Thinking about empathy as an element that arouses learning shaped the structure of the videos: the characters look as though they are in a circle of participation.
3. Every “table” is a peeking/glancing station for one person. When there are two or more staffed stations, the observers can listen, see what is happening and also observe one another (with a periscope). Observation of the other emphasizes how much of our thought is “infected” with criticism of the other.
This work is modular. The trapezoids (whose shape is a decision of principle) stand on iron legs which can be arranged in the shape of circle or another free shape; changing one angle of the unit can create circles comprised of a variable amount of trapezoids. The primary organizational image of the units in space is the educational classroom and accordingly the trapezoids were placed in a manner reminiscent of school tables.
The spoken sentences are from the didactic Mussar book of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Hacohen from Radin – the Chofetz Chaim (aside from one place in which the characters “improvise” disgraceful words.) An attempt is made to “translate” the book into a visual medium. The sentences are quoted as they appear in the book but the rhythm and editing are different.
The book is presented in the form of lessons – a lesson for each day of the year; each day and its lesson on the topic of forbidden speech and gossip and hurtful words. The book creates a protective net, built of hundreds of prohibitions, for the other. Whoever attempts to put into practice the lessons will discover that he becomes silent in the face of daily conversation, which is filled with the legitimacy of forbidden words and lashon hara. The book – by negating most ordinary speech habits – creates an empty language space. From this linguistic wilderness, from the shock and the muteness, a proposal for other human communication sprouts: sparing of words, careful for the honor of the other and refined.


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