Archive for the ‘project statement’ Category


Thursday, September 1st, 2011

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.


Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Notes from the Tribe will be a series of illustrations depicting various Jewish traditions and experiences, as well as characters from the Torah. Inspired by the golden age of cartooning and using patterns found in classic Judaica, the goal is to create a contemporary Jewish body of work whose perspective is uniquely American. As each piece is created, it will be available to view on a weekly basis online, accompanied by a short piece of writing.  In addition, the work will be showcased in different institutions throughout California during its creation. As a supplement to this, zines will be released, which will include additional contributions from the community. Stickers, buttons and various other mediums will also be used as part of the project at events


Thursday, September 1st, 2011

“Ella Fitzgeraldberg” is a cabaret show exploring the Yiddish Swing subculture of the 1930’s and 40’s (legendary singer Ella Fitzgerald at one time recorded the greatest Yiddish Swing hit of all time, “Bai Mir Bist Du Sheyn”). Told from a flashback perspective, an actress threads a story through original songs performed by a Yiddish Big Band ensemble. Recounting the woman’s glamorous days of old, the show examines some of the dilemmas inherent in one of the 20th century’s more interesting eras in Jewish life: the cultural assimilation of pre- and post-war American Jewry.  Imagine stepping into a swanky nightclub circa 1940. Europe is being ravaged by war, the United States is still reeling from the Great Depression and yet, behind that door is some of the happiest music known to man. It is loud, raunchy, brassy, bright and fast. The band plays vintage selections from the era, as the evening is transformed into a full-blown swing dance party. It is an evening that synthesizes music, theater, dance and fashion.


Thursday, September 1st, 2011

In a religion based on a binary gender divide, there are those that have always sat in the middle, or danced on both sides. Unknown is an important exploration into Judaism’s distinction between male and female, and the resulting power dynamic it creates for the religion and the people of faith within it. Through the story of one person’s search for a place of their own in Judaism,  comes the fuller story of a religion created and unmoving on a binary system. The eternal separation of genders seems insurmountable for those living outside male or female identities.  Unknown introduces the audience to a world within Judaism that is creating space for all people that does not require the leaving of religion or of self identity. Through academic philosophers, Rabbis, lay leaders, and poets, the film merges the theory and reality of Judaism’s gender divide.  With stories of gender transition, loss of family and faith communities, Unknown explores what a two system gender world does to stifle exploration of self and each other.  Unknown raises questions of performance, ritual, and faith while challenging the audience’s concept of gender in their own life.


Thursday, September 1st, 2011

The Ballad of Don Solomono will be a short fiction film focusing on a few episodes in the real-life tale of Solomon Bibo, a Jewish immigrant who left Germany in 1869 while still a teenager to seek out the mythical “El Dorado” in America. Through incredible twists of fate, he became governor of the indigenous tribe of Acoma whose ancient pueblo (named “Sky City”) sits atop a beautiful and unassailable cliff in the middle of a New Mexico desert.  Solomon became known to the Indians as “Don Solomono” and married the granddaughter of the tribe’s former governor. Solomon’s amazing story spans the Napoleonic Wars, the aftermath of the American Civil War, the building of the Santa Fe railroad, the American Indian Wars (and such famous characters as Geronimo), the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, the Great Depression and leads all the way up to World War 2. Solomon’s descendants now live throughout the world.

The creation process, also includes filming a documentary series focusing on the process of creating the film and featuring conversations with modern Jews in the LA area, inspired by the questions that Don Solomono’s story raises. The film will talk about identity, intermarriage and dreams.  The documentary series will be presented via a video blog and public screenings.


Thursday, September 1st, 2011

2×12 is a multi-dimensional video project that explores the Jewish narrative of annihilation and exodus – beginning with Noah’s ark – through the lens of contemporary myths and experiences of apocalypse. From inception to exhibition, 2×12 will involve Angelinos, queers, Jews, and artists. The project is a video installation, montaging 12 vignettes, each of which will be, in part, inspired by Apocalypse myths. During the installation, viewers will be invited to add their voices to the initial narrative through a participatory component unique to each exhibition (e.g., apocalyptic karaoke or an end-of-the-world packing list), to be woven into subsequent showings.


Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Through scholarship, community collaboration, and focused individual art production, Cadastral Masorah will use maps as the entry point to a discussion about cultural and personal knowledge, relation to place, and identity. Corrie will study and incorporate micrography texts from the 10th century to modern day, the maps of Cresques Abraham, and city records from places with significant Jewish populations. These sources will be used as points of departure for collaborative community events for targeted groups, as well as the general public. These workshops and curated tours will encourage individuals to interpret their own neighborhoods, and explore boundaries and Jewish identity through the visual language of cartography and micrography. Corrie will use the fruits of this collaboration as well as her primary research to create maps, photographs and installations.

PROJECT STATEMENT — Jessie Kahnweiler

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

“Dude Where’s my Chutzpah” – a comedic web series which follows stand-up comedian Jessie on her adventure to discover what it means to be Jewish. After her recently deceased Bubbie left her a large sum of money, the quirky yet jaded comedian discovers that in order to get the cash she must ‘LIVE JEWISH’ for an entire year! Oy, from the underground Israeli club scene, to the front of the picket line, to the mystical depths of Kabbalah, Jessie discovers the plethora of ways to experience Judaism. In the midst of her hilarious adventure, she finds herself tapping into the spiritual realm and learns that her soul can flourish within the tangible world. Watch as Judaism shows Jessie that the journey is the destination and that every answer is simply a question in disguise.

PROJECT STATEMENT — Kristen Smiarowski

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

In 2008, Kristen Smiarowski started THE KEY GAME project, a series of choreographic responses to Polish writer and Holocaust survivor Ida Fink’s fictional short story by the same name. Each dance in THE KEY GAME series is a memorial to the one preceding it.

Sleep, Staring, Well culminates THE KEY GAME project. It weaves together live dance and theater performance with archival materials – including video, graphs, written word and audio recordings – from previous works in the series. Audience members experience Sleep, Staring, Well on foot as they move freely through a labyrinth constructed of rope, tubing and permeable fabric. This is a kinetic labyrinth of space and time: the shape, size and function of each room, alcove or passageway changes and morphs. New channels open as others are closed. Fabric is stretched, wrapped or dropped to conceal or reveal actions and objects, divide spaces and alter perspective. Sleep, Staring, Well draws attention to the hypermediation of historical memory. It reflects the ways in which generations born after World War II vicariously receive information about Holocaust history and how we attempt to make meaning out of a historical period we did not experience directly.


Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Alicia Jo Rabins’s A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff was performed November 8th and 15th, 2012, at Joe’s Pub, in New York. A new song cycle about the spiritual implications of the recent financial crisis, A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff viewed the figure of Bernard Madoff, and the system which allowed him to function, through the lens of ancient Jewish texts about financial ethics, ecology and cycles. Drawing on aspects of Greek tragedies, and the contemporary operas of Osvaldo Golijov, Philip Glass and John Adams, Alicia considered Madoff as a larger-than-life figure who reflects our society’s desire for straight lines and eternal upward progress.

The melodic vocabulary derived partly from Yom Kippur liturgy, especially the Kaddish. Looping and delay pedals were used to layer and abstract these traditional melodies, musically investigating the ideas of cycles, aggregation, and attrition. The libretto drew from halachic, aggadic and kabbalistic texts, quotes from Madoff and his victims, and the arcane language of the stock market, ultimately investigating the intersection of mysticism and finance, the inevitability of cycles, and the true meaning of wealth.