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INIFINI#1 Gaza Envelope photo: Tami Weiss
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photo: Jozef Wouters
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photo: Phile Deprez

INFINI#1

In 2010 Arkadi Zaides initiated a collaboration with photographer Yuval Tebol and multidisciplinary artist Daniel Landau to create the scenography for the stage performance ‘Land-Research’. On a large screen set at the back of the stage, images shot by Tebol with a panoramic camera in various locations in Israel/Palestine were altered by Landau’s graphic interventions. These minimalist black and white landscapes served as buffers between the solos of five performers enacted on stage. In 2016 the same methodology was repeated following an invitation by scenographer Jozef Wouters and his Decoratelier for the creation of the INFINI project. This time, a landscape, an altered image captured at the Turkish Greek border, stood on the bare stage, it was created along with 15 other scenographies by 15 different artists that performed on the stage of the KVS theatre in Brussels.


INFINI#1 GAZA ENVELOPE

In ‘INFINI#1 GAZA ENVELOPE’ an image shot by Yuval Tebol in 2008 captures a segment of the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. It is a shot of a stockpile of security barriers used by the Israeli security forces to barricade civilian targets. The Israeli disengagement from the occupied Gaza Strip took place in 2005. In 2007, after Hamas took control of the strip, an ongoing land, air, and sea blockade was imposed on the citizens of Gaza both by Israel and Egypt. Since then Israel has de facto controlled all aspects of the life in Gaza and operations are conducted repeatedly by the Israeli army, killing thousands of Palestinians. Hamas, in return, periodically attempts to launch missiles towards Israeli settlements. The sky in Tebol's panoramic image is gradually cut out by Landau’s digital intervention leaving the barriers, blocks of bare concrete, alone in the panoramic frame. The INFINI#1 GAZA ENVELOPE video installation therefore uses the edited picture as a visual metonymy for the lethal dynamics shaping the experience of the border. This process provides a visual reflective meditation on the deadly border separating the two peoples.


INFINI #1 LESVOS

In ‘INFINI #1 LESVOS’ Tebol, Landau and Zaides documented a definite section of the European border, the coastline of the Mantamados region of Lesbos, which is the Greek island’s closest point to Turkey. In 2016, each day, approximately 1,500 migrants entered Europe through this location. The video work provides a contemplative gaze on one of the three main gateways to fortress Europe. The image of the coastline (photographed by Tebol) is fundamentally transformed (by Landau) with the use of digital effects: fragments are cut out, isolated, and framed. The distant Turkish coastline as well as the rubber dinghies previously used to carry migrants and now left on the Greek shore are delineated with a yellow dotted line and blacked out. The sea and the air have also been edited extensively. This process takes place silently, detachedly: as if the tragedies unfolding on the coast were nothing more than a problem that can be solved with the aid of digital technology.

Credits & Collaborators

Concept Arkadi Zaides Photographer Yuval Tebol Video artist Daniel Landau Local coordinator Lesbos Efi Latsoudi Commissioned and presented first as part of INFINI, a project by Decoratelier Jozef Wouters at the KVS, Brussels

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Articles & Reviews

INFINI 1-15 (BOOK)

by Jeroen Peeters and Jozef Wouters, 09/17

With contributions from: Anna Rispoli, Arkadi Zaides, Begüm Erciyas, Benny Claessens, Chris Keulemans, Jisun Kim, Jozef Wouters, Michiel Soete, Michiel Vandevelde, Rebekka de Wit, Rimah Jabr, Rodrigo Sobarzo, Sis Matthé, Thomas Bellinck and Wim Cuyvers.


With INFINI 1-15, Decoratelier created a performance around the following question: “which spaces must we show in the theatre today?” Fourteen artists entered into a dialogue with Jozef Wouters and Decoratelier, an eclectic group of builders and thinkers, and each conversation resulted in an infini: a unique interpretation of the painted backdrops that were lowered on pulleys, as a horizon for the imagination. The book INFINI 1-15 is a continuation of that dialogue, a translation of scenographic space and image into both words and layout. Published by De Nieuwe Toneelbibliotheek, the volume gathers together the makers’ performance texts, stage directions and spatial descriptions.

Jozef Wouters/ Decoratelier – Infini 1-15

by Marijn Lems, Etcetera, 03/16

Jozef Wouters was toch heel erg duidelijk geweest. In zijn vraag aan een vijftiental theatermakers, choreografen en andere kunstenaars om na te denken over welk landschap zij in het theater verbeeld zouden willen zien, had hij gestipuleerd dat er in het eindproduct hoe dan ook geen tekst aan te pas zou mogen komen. Toen zijn enige eis massaal werd genegeerd en slechts drie makers erin slaagden om daadwerkelijk alleen met een beeld te komen, zag Wouters zich echter genoodzaakt om de regels aan te passen.

Deze schijnbare onderwaardering van de pure zeggingskracht van het beeld kon de scenografen met wie ik Infini 1-15 bezocht maar matig bekoren, en het moet gezegd: het is op zijn minst wonderlijk dat de ratio van beeld en taal in een project met de opzet van Infini zo ver naar de verbale kant is doorgeslagen. Aan de andere kant biedt de uiteindelijke voorstelling zo´n rijkgeschakeerde selectie van landschappen en vergezichten dat het onmogelijk is om lang stil te blijven staan bij eventuele gemiste kansen.