Straw widow

Katya Izabel Filmus – Hagar Mittelpunkt

Straw Widow is composed of a life-sized dress and a double bed made of straw. The IDF procedure known as Straw Widow is a combat technique that includes taking over a civilian dwelling, putting its inhabitants in one of the rooms, under guard, and preparing the house for combat during a stay of several hours to several days. The procedure includes the take over and intervention in the daily lives of Palestinian civilians, while terrifying them. The action that takes place in the gallery from the moment the exhibition opens constitutes an invasion of private and personal space as part of the practice and strategy of the occupation. The transitory nature of a piece made of straw speaks of the temporary experience, which has almost vanished from collective awareness, in the context of the occupation – an occupation that is responsible for casualties and widows, and leaves behind hollow dresses.
During the six days following the show opening, the artists will set up camp in the gallery, staying and sleeping in it and spending the time covering the piece with straw. The six-day performance reflects the duration of the six-day war.
About the partners:
We both speak the same mother tongue, our dialogue is egalitarian and we both knew that despite the distance we are lucky to speak the same language.
This detail could have easily gone unnoticed, if it weren’t for the Nation-State Bill which was passed by the Knesset a few days ago, which sets a clear hierarchy between the languages spoken in the country and the speakers of those languages. Both of us have experienced instances of discomfort and flattening of our representation when we wanted to hold a complex dialogue in a language we only partially command. In the context of the current exhibition, it was impossible to ignore this aspect of working together, and this time the dialogue was fair.
There is no substitute for a face-to-face conversation, or for a joint material experience. Katya lives in England, Hagar in Israel. The convenient hours for conversations are out of sync, and lifestyles differ. Communication wasbroken. The distant conversations were good enough for the initial stage of the work, but not beyond it. The lines of cooperation are still thin, and both artists are eagerly awaiting Katya’s arrival in Israel, so that they can “simmer” together in the next stage of their joint creation. Hagar Mittelpunkt, Katya Izabel Filmus