GARDEN OF FLOATING EVENTS (2004)
'Garden of Floating Events' is an installation work consisting of video art, photography, etchings and sculpture. The space, designed to echo a hospital emergency room, is a lament to existentialism.
"Garden" is a small piece of heaven where seeds of goodness are planted and grow into grace. In Israel, the term "event" refers to an act of terror. 'Garden of Floating Events' equates happiness and hope for the future on one hand, but at the same time the garden is planted with seeds of anxiety and pain. The installation is made mostly of strong, hard and wounding materials, such as tin, Formica, Perspex and aluminium. The space is constructed as a trap to the viewer: The work 'Counter' is the entrance to the space, but at the same time it hides the inner area. This object is a reference to the counter at the emergency room that separates the wounded from their families. To its left, still in the outer space, is the work 'Late Talks with Mom' – etching on Perspex. The etching was made through repetition of the lines in the drawings of Lital's mother, made when she was a child, as part of a comprehensive, obsessive research dealing with the anatomy of the plant. This is an attempt to perceive memories and experiences of her mother, research into the possibility of a generational leap. 'Garden of Floating Events' was designed to be an active space: during the exhibition, green and fresh grass undergoes a process of withering. The left side wall features the object 'Bride', which is made of tulle cloth and designed as a feminine, containing vessel. The tulle slopes downwards, all the way to the dead grass. 'Groom' is just above it – a ready made silver tube with two handles embodying the essence of masculinity. An infusion tube commonly used in the emergency room binds the bride and groom in a blood bond and spirals out to the space and the ceiling in an orgiastic dance. This is the only component in the space which exists above the dividing line of the painted wall, in the white space above. Further on the wall, there are two video presentations: 'Breath of Water' and 'Breath of Ash'.
The piece 'Couple' is located at the centre of the dead grass – two beds which allude to beds in the emergency room. The beds are twisted and tilted in a manner which would not allow rest or stability. They face each other but instead of offering solace, they only offer thorns and aggression. 'Roentgen' is situated on the opposite wall. This is a light box with stills on transparencies, a metaphor to the Roentgen photographs reflecting the body of a terror attack victim. Watching the patients at the emergency room is perceived as a pornographic experience: the helplessness of the suffering, exposed body; the gathering around the naked body of those injured and their utter humiliation at being watched by those around them – caretakers, relatives and curious passers-by – all these enhance this experience. The work 'Roentgen' transfers the sense of pornography in the emergency room also to the battlefield between the sexes. This piece presents a woman opposite men. Here too the same elements are expressed: the total, pornographic exposure, the lack of communication in intimacy and the mental state of "being observed." Printing these images on transparencies is intended to sharpen the sense of transparency. The video presentation 'Night' is positioned underneath 'Roentgen'. A bright light (thunder storm? bombing?) floods the black screen with white light, diverting the viewer's attention from 'Roentgen’. The piece 'Women's Choir' consists of three monitors, video works and a piece of wall made of plaster bandages. The two video works 'The Accompanying Ladies' are a representation of Sisyphean act of bandaging the body. This act represents support, but self-dressing also expresses the need for defence and shelter. 'The Soloist' is a video work which illustrates the opposite meaning of dressing the body: the bandage makes a wreath of thorns cling to Lital's body, thus wounding it. The scratched, sore and bleeding body is yet another analogy to body images in the work 'Roentgen' and to the mental motif in the piece as a whole. The video presentation 'Rivka'le' is at the corner of the room and is projected onto the dry yellowed grass. The title of the piece, Rivka'le, is Lital's middle name, the name her mother gave her in memory of her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. In the video, Lital is asleep/floating in an amorphous space. The whiteness is blinding and her floating body is dismantling into organs which sway with the rhythm of the waves. This piece is an attempt to process the first traumatic encounter Lital had with a terror attack victim who arrived at the emergency room seriously injured but still awake. She died a slow death, as if falling asleep, in front of Lital's very eyes. The soundtrack accompanying this work is Chava Alberstein's special adaptation to the Yiddish song "Rivka'le", as a lullaby sang by a mother to her sleeping daughter. The viewers who turn away from 'Rivka'le' find themselves in front of a big mirror, just a moment before leaving the garden. The mirror allows the viewer a glance at the lower part of the body only, but this suggestive amputation of the body is to be reversed if one sits on the grass, thus making one feel at home. Only then can the viewers take a look at themselves, into themselves, still within the space of the garden, but a brief moment before leaving it and going back to real life.