In a solo performance entitled Archive (2014), the Israeli choreographer Arkadi Zaides offers a physical and choreographic interpretation of videos collected by the Israeli non-governmental organization B’Tselem within the frame of an operation called “Camera Project”. The footage projected on stage shows only Israelis, but the viewpoint is Palestinian. Starting from this material, Arkadi Zaides performs, by extraction, imitation, and repetition, a (self-)analysis of the contemporary Israeli body,→
B’Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Since 2007, the organization has been operating its Camera Project, which distributes video cameras to Palestinians in high conflict areas in the West Bank. The project aims to provide an ongoing documentation of human rights violations, and to expose the reality of life under occupation to both the Israeli and the international public.
Throughout the work process, Zaides reviewed and selected footage that was filmed by volunteers of B’Tselem’s Camera Project. On stage, he examines the bodies of Israelis as they were captured on camera, and focuses on the physical reactions to which they resort in various confrontational situations. The Palestinians remain behind the camera, nevertheless, their movement, voice, and point of view are highly present, determining the viewer’s perspective.
Although the footage reveals a local reality, Archive raises broader, more universal questions: what is the potential of violence embedded in each individual body, and what price does the collective pay for governing the other. Zaides extracts and appropriates gestures and voices of fellow Israelis. He identify with the footage and engages in it, gradually embodying it. The mimetic choreographic practice raises questions of participation and responsibility as Zaides’ body transforms into a living archive.
Credits & CollaboratorsArchive materials: volunteers for the "Camera Project" of B'Tselem - The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Iman Sufan, Mu'az Sufan, Bilal Tamimi, Udai 'Aqel, Awani D'ana, Bassam J'abri, Abu 'Ayesha, Qassem Saleh, Mustafa Elkam, Raed Abu Ermeileh, Abu Sa'ifan, Oren Yakobovich, Nayel Najar Concept & choreography Arkadi Zaides Video consultant Effi Weiss, Amir Borenstein Sound art & voice dramaturgy Tom Tlalim Artistic advice Katerina Bakatsaki Assistant choreography Ofir Yudilevitch/Gilad Jerusalmy Costume Adam Kalderon Light Thalie Lurault Remote Control Interface Pierre-Olivier Boulant Technical direction Etienne Exbrayat, Yoav Barel Sound technician Cyril Communal Production Yael Bechor Special thanks to Myriam Van Imschoot Produced by Arkadi Zaides Co-produced by Festival D’Avignon (FR), CDC Toulouse (FR), Theatre National De Chaillot (FR), CNDC Angers (FR) Residencies at STUK Leuven (BE), CDC Toulouse (FR), CNDC Angers (FR), Theatre National De Chaillot (FR), WP Zimmer (BE)
Israeli choreographer Arkadi Zaides’s solo dance performance Archive investigates the somatic impact of transgressions performed daily in the West Bank by Israeli fundamentalist settlers against Palestinians. The performance, which premiered at Festival d’Avignon in July 2014, activates the enduring habits of Israeli violence by weaving together two concurrent threads: video projections from an archive assembled by B’Tselem, 1 an organization that documents human rights violations in the occupied territories, and Zaides’s live performance in which he embodies the physical and vocal gestures in the video in order to re-present the Israeli aggressive position.2 While Archive has been performed in different venues around the world,3 it generates the→
The Palais de Chaillot in Paris is where, on December 10 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Palais de Chaillot is now the Théâtre National de Chaillot, and in its basement theatre — Salle Maurice Béjart — Arkadi Zaides is performing Archive in which he borrows a Palestinian perspective to view transgressions of human rights by Israeli soldiers and settlers against the indigenous Palestinian population.
The significance of the place is not lost on Zaides but he doesn’t reveal it until the post-show discussion: the context of Archive is undoubtedly human rights but it is not the main focus of this work.
The Palais de Chaillot in Paris is where, on December 10 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Palais de Chaillot is now the Théâtre National de Chaillot, and in its basement theatre — Salle Maurice Béjart — Arkadi Zaides is performing Archive in which he borrows a Palestinian perspective to view transgressions of human rights by Israeli soldiers and settlers against the indigenous Palestinian population.→
Arkadi Zaides' work "Archive" brings the Occupation from the territories to the stage. By processing the reality as photographed in the Occupied Territories into a work of dance, Zaides asserts the impossibility of severing the ties between "here" and "there", between "reality" and "art", between "Left" and "Right". The Occupation exists in all our names, and thus it is necessarily omnipresent. The sense of responsibility prompts Zaides to a closer look at "the other" – settlers and soldiers. Instead of blackballing or ignoring them, he wants to get to know them.→