Review on printeresting about the project: Michael Felix Kijac created a remarkable print-based installation calling attention to the growing African immigrant situation in the city. In his own words the project is designed to raise the question in the viewers, ’how would I feel in this specific situation’. The work titled The Dark Side of Tel Aviv was on view at the Design Museum Holon. The work is edgy, smart, and poses as many complicated questions as it answers.
As you can see from the video there is a dark room with plastic grocery bags placed around the floor, and are in turn light up like lanterns on a timed sequence. The bags have images and text printed on them which operate as coded symbols that likely could be seen as both oblique and decipherable to the audience, depending on their familiarity with the references. Whether the original audience of Kijac’s work achieved his goal, of generating something like what the poet and critic Joan Retallack calls reciprocal alterity between the local and the new immigrants, can only be guessed at from this far away, but this work definitely raised my awareness of this troubling situation.
The artist’s website documenting the installation explains the complicated position of the so-called ‘infiltrators’ within the fabric of Tel Aviv. The plastic shopping bags operate as a signifier much as they do in the US, as a disposable vehicle for portage, something forgettable beyond it’s use-value, which dovetails with the artist’s assertion that these immigrants are being treated in a similar fashion, serving a low-wage worker position, while caught in a kind of limbo-status of displacement.
The Dark Side of Tel Aviv?
The project raises critical issues about the African immigrants in Israel. It should reflect and explain the differences in the approach of society and stimulate reflection. And you should ask the question: “How would I feel in that specific situation?“. The projects website gives an overview of the whole project. You will find general information about the installation, videos, background knowledge about the situation and much more.
The project was exhibited during Holon Design Week in Isreal.