Yael Bartana

Kunstverein in Hamburg k

A group of young Israelis have devised a strange game: Two players act out the role of the police or other representatives of state authority, while the others use their bodies to form a tight knot; the “police” then try to extract individuals from this mass. Yael Bartana’s 2005 video Wild Seeds depicts this seemingly cheerful and carefree game against a breathtaking scenic backdrop. Yet when we see the English translation of the game’s Hebrew dialogue in a second projection, the game turns into a parable of the Israeli occupation of those territories, which hide in the overwhelming landscape: “A Jew does not deport another Jew”; “We have a plan to conquer this land”; “You are in the middle, you’re safe.” Suddenly, the playful bickering becomes a threatening existential confrontation.

Bartana finds one of the fundamental questions of her work—when does the private human body become a

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