Eifo At/a / Eifo Ani — WHERE ARE YOU / WHERE AM I
The outset of the project
In 2016 Dorothea Rust got an invitation by Room Dances Festival for it’s 29th edition in December 2017. The innovative festival was founded in 1998 by Amos Hetz, (founder and head (until 2002) of the Department of Movement and Movement Notation at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, teaching, lecturing and performing in Israel and abroad). For the past 29 years, the festival’s aim has been: to create a space in which exposed encounters between artists, their creations and audiences can take place and to focuse on strictly innovative and new productions and international collaborations. Dorothea has a memory and experience of being in Israel at different occasions and venues: 1977 travelling through Israel, 2001 participating at Room Dances Festival in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and in a Kibbutz up North in Israel, 2012 participating at ZAZ Festival — Performance Art Platform in Tel Aviv Bus Station and in Haifa at Tveria 15, The Hadar Community Center. The impetus for Dorothea to go to Israel and participate in the festival in 2017 was to find a substantial link between Israel and Switzerland for the content of an art-dance-music-performance project. In 2016 Dorothea saw a short performance by Omri Ziegele with the Surbtal Yiddish an extinct swiss dialect. Omri worked with the sounding of the language. Dorothea wanted to know and learn more about the context of this Swiss dialect. Also knowing that Omri has Jewish background and ancestors who grew up in the Surbtal, Dorothea invited Omri to collaborate and perform for the occasion of this festival. In order to develop a collaborative evening-length work, both of them made (further) research into the traces of Surbtal Yiddish. Thereby they could relay on the experiences of their long term collaboration, Dorothea also onto her congenial collaboration in solo projects with the media specialists Petit Grégoire Videolabor.
Amos Hetz, the founder of Room Dances Festival is a longstanding protagonist in the dance scene in Israel. He functions since it’s first edition in 1998 as the curator of the festival. As Room Dances writes: «The festival has been devoted to fostering a chamber dance, in which the creator connects his senses, his imagination and his thoughts and performs in his body what he connects. For the past 29 years, the festival has been intereste in creating a space in which an exposed encounter between artist, their creations and audiences can take place. The festival focuses on strictly innovative and new productions and international collaborations.»
The artspace Kunstraum Walcheturm presents contemporary art, new media, video and film, new music, experimental and electronic music, performance and sound art. It sees its position between art hall, gallery and offspaces offering Swiss and international artists and their audiences a field of experimentation. Kunstraum Walcheturm is an important platform for contemporary composers and electronic listening music. The artspace is centrally located, only 8 walking minutes away from Zürich central station, in Zeughaushof a former military campus. This courtyard is now a public park with an open air restaurant, the buildings surrounding the park are used for several social services, theatre rehearsing spaces, clubbing, craft businesses and more.
I received the following description of Ha'Teiva Theatre: «Ha’Teiva is in a newly built complex, levelled with an underground parking lot. It has no daylight. Since its inception in 2005, Ha-Teiva has been hosting classical musicians, various Arabic electronic musicians, video-artists, and other events combining the arts with other styles, as well as lectures by visiting musicians. The unique performance hall addresses diverse audiences from all walks of Tel Aviv and Jaffa life. With everything from alternative rock to trance, they've done it all. The stunning Steinway piano in the hall is a perfect addition to the venue as well. With so many options, you're bound to find something worth a ticket here.»
A long corridor is leading down to the basement. One can smell tyre and petrol from the underground carpark. The parking lot is connected by a corridor with the entrance area (with bar counter) of Ha'Teiva performance space. On the opposite side in a space a disco-dance-event for elderly people, as it looks like on weekends, is happening. These clubbers are sitting in single rows along the walls of the corridor, some happily dressed up others carefully tailored clothed. This multicoloured dance community overlaps with the dance art event of Room Dances Festival. The athomsphere changes radically, when entering the performance space of Ha'Teiva with it's wooden floor and the cream-coloured walls dived into a warm spotlight, spreading an almost soft tone. All this together each time when going down into the basement outlines the bunker feel in unexpected ways.
From 29—30 December the whole programme was mirrored in Jerusalem at Leo Model, Gerard Behar Center
I have found the following information about the history of the Gerard Behar Center on Wikipedia: «Formerly known as Beit Ha'Am, in 1961 the newly opened site was the venue for the trial of Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann, who sat in a specially-made bulletproof glass booth during the proceedings. After the trial, the building reverted to its use as a cultural center, but in 1983 the complex was upgraded to an arts centre by the Jerusalem Foundation with funding from Eliezer and Lucie Behar of France, who renamed the center in memory of their son, Gerard, a victim of the Nazis during World War II. In 1987 the Gerard Behar Center was incorporated into the newly named Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Civic Center, which encompasses the two theatres, a dance studio, a municipal library, an adult education program, and an ulpan. The Gerard Behar Center is a home for independent theater, music and dance productions in Jerusalem.»
Nobody I got in touch with during my stay in Jerusalem did remember and could confirm this history of this site.
There are two halls at the Gerard Behar Center: The Gerard Behar Hall holds 650 seats, and is an auditorium split into a hall and a balcony. The Leo Model Hall is a multi-purpose hall which can hold up to176 modular seats. The Center has two in-house dance companies, produces its own shows, and shows produced in collaboration with other bodies, e.g. Jazz concerts, events which are part of the Israel Festival and the Jerusalem Arts Festival, a variety of school activities, institutions, government offices, various organizations, producers, agents and others.