PED XING is a series of participatory installations and video/puppetry that will consider Jewish intellectual history, dealing with ideas of social change and developing possibilities for the future of walkable urbanism in Los Angeles. This project is inspired by the migratory nature of Jewish people, and by the pedestrian lifestyle of the Jewish seniors of Los Angeles. These immigrants from the former Soviet Union continue walking and bussing instead of driving in the highly motorized city, engaging with the geography of LA in the same way they did in their native lands. By making the choice to traverse Los Angeles on foot and by public transport, they transform the environment by activating awareness of the body in relation to the space of the sidewalk. This project explores the aftermath of the post-Soviet Jewish migratory experience. Jewish culture in the former Soviet Union was characterized by a strong sense of community, intellectual leadership, and strong social involvement, despite widespread anti-Semitism. By creating a work that deals with the movement and narratives of the Eastern-European Jews who moved to the US at an old age, leaving behind years of civic experience, this project explores traditional Jewish leitmotifs of oral history and migration.
Yelena Zhelezov is a Belarusian-Israeli whose work investigates the body – biological and social – in space and time, through installation, video, and puppetry/object performance. Yelena’s materials are often sourced in architecture, science, film, or civic space. She uses strategies of research and welcomes accidents in her practice. Yelena holds an MFA in Puppetry and Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts. Since moving to LA, she has shown work at LACMA, Hammer Museum, Big City Forum, Museum of Jurassic Technology, Materials and Applications, Echo Country Outpost, Space 15 Twenty, LA Collective Show, Raid Gallery, IKO IKO Space, CalArts, Pictaplasma-Bordeaux, Elfriede Jelinek International Conference in Berlin, NASA Houston, and International Puppetry Conference London, UK. Currently, Yelena teaches painting to children at a private studio of a fellow Israeli artist, serves as an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner of the City of West Hollywood, and makes music videos. Recent credits include directing music videos for local artists such as Craft Spells, Julia Holter, Henry Wolfe, and Jena Malone, as well as engineering miniature architectural disasters for How are you Doing, directed by Michel Gondry for Living Sisters.