Itamar Liebergal • Eitan Bartal • Rina German Berezovski • Yonatan Levi • Shacham Rubin & Idan Rom • Adi Kafri & Dorit Provizor • Niv Fridman • Typomania Project: Alexander Vasin, Natalia Velchinskaya, Igor Gurovich (Armenia-Israel-Russia), Peter Bankov (Czech Republic), Oded Ezer (Israel), Sonya Korshenboym (Israel), Vladimir Tsesler (Belarus), Niklaus Troxler (Switzerland), Erich Brechbühl (Switzerland) , Jianping He (China-Germany), Leonardo Sonnoli (Italia), Yuriy Toreev (Belarus), Brest Brest Brest x Adrien M & Claire B (France), Maya Ish-Shalom (Israel) , Thonik (The Netherland), Chae Byungrok (Korea) , Anna Black (Ukraine) , Kristina Lenberg (Serbia-Russia), Bella Leyn (Israel), Alex Wang (Hong Kong) , Elita Krastiņa (Latvia) , Rodion Raskolnikov (Ingria)
In recent years, the notion of “engineering public consciousness” has been thrown around frequently in Israeli media, but is “engineering” really the right term? More than engineering, public consciousness seems to be the product of design. Throughout history, design has been mobilized in service of political, religious, and sociological ideas—a tool for disseminating messages and shaping narratives. As for the designers themselves, some were passionate supporters of the ideology they promoted, others were forced to harness their talent for the cause, and yet others simply made a lucrative decision. Either way, the aspiration to design people’s attitudes has led to the creation of some of the most iconic objects, posters, and typographies in the history of material culture.
In this exhibition, designers have been mobilized for a different cause: uncovering the mechanisms behind today’s designed propaganda. In quoting controversial social narratives, appropriating collective symbols, and rearranging spatial and temporal orders, they examine the manipulative power these narratives, symbols, and orders hold, and foster critical awareness and thinking.
We would all do well to remember: While we can easily identify demagogic elements in obvious propaganda, especially if these elements are foreign to our immediate surroundings, insidious propaganda is effective precisely because it presents ideological elements as ordinary and innocuous.
Naama Agassi • Ori Shifrin Anavi • Carla Rataus • Shahar Asor • David Shatz, Yael Korenstein & Shir Senior • Ibraheem Rajabi • Eden Ohana • Yarnatak: Maria Feigin & Geaya Blory • Arch. Avraham Cohen, Yuval Berger, Yoav Dabas, Alon Nisan, Arch. Shany Barath • Photo Bardak - Ella Barak, Yotam Amrani, Guy Bloomenfeld, Nadav Machete • Idan Sidi & Gal Sharir • Nir Jacob Younessi • Esmée Willemsen
Long before the alchemists tried to turn metal into gold, people had pursued material transformations, seeking to make the cheap expensive, the rough delicate, and the coarse touchable. In a sense, every craft is a manipulation aimed at transforming matter, extracting it from its natural state, and using it to create something new. Today, modified material production technologies are constantly evolving, taking over the private and institutional sectors: Synthetic grass, Formica Laminate, and ceramic granite are just the tip of the iceberg. The coatings and imitations serve man’s relentless yearning to achieve and seize objects of desire, even when they seem unattainable. However, even if every manipulation has a degree of deception about it, the goal of material manipulation is not necessarily deceitful or ostentatious. It can also help us save the world—and ourselves—from the graver consequences of our material consumption habits by allowing us access to less harmful and more readily available resources. We cannot achieve that without transforming some materials into others.
The hospice spaces feature design works that celebrate the creatives’ material mastery, the effect of production and creative processes on the final product, and the visual and emotional significance of a surprising encounter with familiar materials. Alongside tangible materials associated with traditional crafts, they also demonstrate the use of more elusive materials like light, sound, and fog, which play tricks on the senses and highlight the magical dimension present in all artisanship.
Curators: Prof. Jonathan Ventura, Galit Shvo
Participants: Dr. Doron Altaratz, Avihai Mizrahi & Neil Nenner, Lealla Solomon & Karolina Dohnalkova, Merav Shacham, Lila Chitayat & Alon Chitayat
Objects as Agents of Propaganda: How Designers Contribute to Shaping Narratives
Truth and lies have become one, no longer separated by barriers or distance. After the post-modern era, when the truth had gone wrong, and the post-truth era, when the line between truth and lies began to blur, there came a time without truth or falsehood. Anything can be true these days, as long as enough people believe it and some platform is willing to spread the gospel. In this exhibition, we chose to look back and ask: Have things been like this forever? When are we part of the problem and when are we pushing towards a solution?
Since the dawn of human civilization, objects have been mobilized in service of narratives and made to influence behaviors, worldviews, and social and cultural norms. In the 13th century, when eyeglasses became a symbol of wisdom, it became trendy to wear “plain glasses” in order to exhibit intelligence. The Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza (1401–1466), ordered about a dozen pairs of such glasses to signify his literacy and discernment. In the 1940s, glasses became a fashion statement as well: a symbol not only of intelligence but also of socio-economic status. They were a vehicle for promoting and disseminating a personal, social, and cultural narrative.
Another historical example is the nursing bottle. Until the 19th century, most nursing bottles had been made out of clay and used around the house for all kinds of purposes, not just nursing. However, in the 19th century, doctors and industrialists collaborated to create a dedicated nursing bottle. The changes in these bottles’ designs were driven by medical and scientific considerations: measurement markings were added, and the bottles’ shape became more ergonomic, for instance. Furthermore, physicians were the ones who marketed these bottles—an addition to their increasingly central role in shaping the ways infants were fed and, indeed, raised. From a natural, domestic activity, the feeding of babies became a “scientific” endeavor that needed to be measured, monitored, and marketed.
The same happened with the narrative of comfort as a promise for the good life. Much like the medical narrative, this idea has been shaping consumption and marketing in the last century and a half. For example, after the Second World War, it manifested in the production of superbly designed electrical household appliances, which called women back to the home sphere and dictated what they should do there, how they should do it, and how they should look while comfortably using the products. To this day, the marketing of vacuum cleaners is based on a narrative of comfort, ease of use, a futuristic appearance, and the user gaining power and control.
The pursuit of comfort never ends. There will always be a product promising more comfort and even greater relief from the difficulties of existence: more and more dedicated products are popping up and promptly becoming impossible to live without, even though we had been doing just that until mere moments before. An all-purpose bottle used to be enough to satisfy our every need. Suddenly, we need a travel bottle, a sports bottle, a baby bottle, a temperature-insulated bottle, and a wine bottle. One is plastic, one glass, and another—stainless steel. Best not confuse them, lest the relevant narrative collapse. Who wants to show up at the gym carrying a toddler’s water bottle with a picture of a hedgehog on it?!
Does this cultural situation leave room for a personal narrative?
Seven designers have been invited to use “platforms of lies" to create five projects in varied mediums, present new messages relating to the narrative of "comfort," provide new interpretations of existing messages and narratives, and offer alternatives.
Efi Kishon • Daniel Ravid Tabarani • Maya Kaplan • Tidhar Zagagi • Future Positive - Nir Goeta & Rotem Goeta • Niv Fridman • Daniel Paul
Humankind is currently trapped in a curious conflict surrounding its physicality. On the one hand, despite our best efforts, we are still very much physical beings—some would even say, too physical. Our bodies are transient. Tiny biological molecules can still infect us with diseases, spread uncontrollably, and turn our world upside down. We still age, and eventually, as our body withers, we die. At the same time, we are in the midst of an unprecedented race for preserving our youthfulness: An ongoing technological effort that will continue to produce better and better results, perhaps to the point of defeating death through science. Meanwhile, as our digital presence also intensifies, the boundary between us and the technologies that interface with our bodies becomes more and more permeable.
What is the connection between the human body and the body of knowledge that enables these advancements? How does our physicality change when we strive to overcome it? And if we look better, younger, and more attractive behind filters, why would we ever want to go out into the world in these grotesque bodies of ours?
The collection of works on view in this space unfolds diverse perspectives on the human body as the object of lies and falsehoods and as an irrefutable truth (at least for now). Some wish to design and improve the body, some contemplate its past or try to predict its future, while others offer a disturbing image of the present.
Naama Nicotra, Ram Shalom, Maya Margolin, Or Rosen, Noam Sol, Or Ben Dov, Ofri Shapira, Inbal Abramson, Noa Zeevi, Shaked Schwartzberg, Imri Dromi • Hagit Keysar, Ariel Caine, Barak Brinker • Holyland Civilians- Anat Meshulam & Dor Chen, Yashou: Yael Renous & Shoval Katony • Ytav Bouhsira, Adi Ticho, Nivi Lehavi, Avinoam Cooper, Rizek Bahbah • Tamar Nix • Nohlab - Yasemen Birhekimoğlu, Candaş Şişman, Denis Evgeniev
In The Society of the Spectacle, French Marxist theorist Guy Debord argued that the spectacle could not be understood as a mere visual deception produced by mass media. Rather, it should be seen as “a world vision which has become objectified.” We live in a society where “everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.” Accordingly, in our alienated world of hyper-consumption, where the deceivers deceive themselves, “the true is a moment of the false.” Indeed, it would appear that Debord’s doomsday prophecy has become our reality: We are living in a society of the spectacle. Not only that—the shift from existence to image has gone much further than anyone could have imagined in the 1960s, when the book was written. We define ourselves by the documentation of what we buy and eat, what we wear, and the spaces we inhabit, meticulously curating half-truths, flattering angles, and compelling phrasings. We have become our own spectacle.
One of the quintessential manifestations of the spectacle in Debord’s time was the display window—the shop’s “space of representation.” Its main objective is to lure passersby inside the shop. For the business owner, the window is an opportunity to create a captivating spectacle, present an agenda, whet people’s curiosity and create an air of mystery, declare exclusivity, and offer a taste of an alluring trend for us to buy into. While the display window can be a place that pulls back the curtain, it can also be a platform for deceptive imagery or controversial truths, concealing what goes on inside.
The spaces on the second floor of the Hansen House feature the products of research-based collaborations that explore this theme. Other projects respond to the opportunity to create a visual, material, or human spectacle that does not follow the rules of the physical world outside the display window.
Studio MA - Moria Architects: Yael Moria, Yael Chen-Agmon, Adi Levy Trau, Amir Lotan, Alaa Shulhut, Shaul Samilansky
The relentless human encroachment on nature has left only small parts of it unscathed. Considering the perilous imbalance caused by climate change, we are now facing the very real possibility of destroying what little nature is left. Meanwhile, we are also witnessing humanity’s growing realization that in this era of widespread anxiety and depression, spending time in nature is crucial to our well-being. The fear of losing the natural world that used to be our home (and still continues to sustain us) drives us to artificially recreate what we have lost—to imitate “natural nature” in the hope of reaping real benefits from the fake.
Curator: Shahar Kedem
Curatorial Assistant: Shira Marek
Exhibition Design and Production: Amit Portman, Shira Marek, Shahar Kedem
Participants: Guy Hadany, Adar Keilin & Bar Zarmon, Marva Mor, Shlomit Yaacov & Efrat Katz, Oryan Galster, Tomer Bismut, Dror Shoval, Naama Steinbock & Friedman Idan, Ariel Kotzer, Koby Sibony, Hilla Shamia, Maya Nachum Levy
Special Thanks: Loaned exhibits are courtesy of the National Nature Collections, The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel-Aviv University
Human beings seek to dominate nature, overcome it or even become its creators. We seek to domesticate and regulate that which is wild and try to position ourselves beyond nature, or, preferably, above it. We approach nature with curiosity, fascination, and awe, and try to document, develop, and preserve it. Yet all the while, whether knowingly or out of indifference, we continue to harm it.
Taxidermy is a particularly obvious instantiation of this urge to dominate. It seeks to own that which cannot have an owner, freeze the ever-fleeting moment, halt and control decay. The craft of taxidermy combines commemoration and preservation, association and appropriation, wildness and domestication. It invites thought about the definition of “natural,” the tensions between veneer and core, design and preservation, and the paradoxical desire to both know the unknown and maintain the mystery.
In museums of natural history, taxidermied animals are often part of a diorama that functions as a kind of window into the animal’s natural habitat—in other words, a simulacrum. These frozen, sculpted, engineered moments evoke an uncanny visual experience that stirs our emotions and ignites our imagination.
When do human interventions in nature constitute acts of documentation, and when are they acts of imitation? How authentic can such interventions hope to be? What else do we seek to borrow from nature and incorporate into our living environment in our attempt to simulate the great outdoors—indoors? Are we seeking to restore that which we have already destroyed?
“Stuffed” is an exhibition that seeks to provoke thought on the human urge to collect and organize, and reflect on how the truth we commemorate becomes the only truth. It is an invitation to wander through spaces of imagined nature and engage authentically with its artificiality, and artificially with its authenticity.
The Matchmakers’ Project
Curators: Yohay Alush and Noa Rich
Exhibition Design and Production:Yohay Alush, Noa Rich, Liron meidani, Adi Tubali, Tal Yagodovsky
Eitan Zelwer, Hagar Ofek, Shimri Yanai, Yuval Buchshtab, Alma Lion, Bushra Abassi, Dana Tannhauser, Tzachi Kedar, Rotem Cohen Soaye, Shanit Adam, Sireen Tahhan, Anat Golan.
Davy Antebi, Lenny Wolfe, tzachi kedar,Nir Yogev, Kavalya Atma ( Ghneim), Demeke mtiku Cohen-Amir Menucha, Ruth Wexler, Mohammed Badrieh
Social Media: Rotem Michaeli
Graphic Design and Consulting: Or Segal
Animation: Noga Sirota, Asa Rikin
Daniel Nahmias for guidance and advice, Galit Gaon, Prof. Ido Bruno, Dr Yona Weitz, Shady Francis Majlaton, maps exhibited are courtesy of The Eran Laor Cartographic Collection in the National Library and for Collection Manager- Ayelet Rubin for consulting, Gil Posner for logo design.
Urban legends are stories associated with a specific place, stories that spread across generations and cultures, through ears and walls. Some are big stories that actually happened; others are intimate memories. Some are full of artistic embellishments, and some are complete fabrications polished and refined by time. In addition to their entertainment value, urban legends represent the human ability to suspend common sense in favor of a collective narrative and a sense of belonging to a place. Thus, the assortment of architectural and historical icons that make up Jerusalem’s urban façade hides multiple concurrent truths that tell the city’s story through disparate cultures, rituals, interpretations, and beliefs.
Jerusalem’s façade is made up of its architecture, street layout, urban vegetation, weather, and passersby—both residents and visitors from all over the world. These guests supposedly experience only the city’s visible layer, yet their time in it is inevitably informed by prior knowledge. When the city in question holds such great religious and cultural importance, this body of knowledge is vast indeed: Jerusalem is experienced through a kaleidoscope of ideas, values, and symbols associated with it across generations.
To see beyond the symbols and stereotypes and into “the hidden city,” we have to look for the stories and legends inside its urban elements. Through them, we can step into a profound interpersonal, sensory experience of a different Jerusalem: one teeming with narratives and memories. Such were all my experiences in Rehavia and the feelings they evoked, all the stories I heard and shared, the tastes and aromas, and the brief and lasting relationships I had with others in the urban space.
Launched in 2017, The Matchmaker project explores the creative forces that drive Jerusalem, the designers who live and work there, and the diverse crafts that take place in the city and shape it in turn. This year, The Matchmakers’ exhibition aims to peel back the city’s façade and expose parts of “the hidden Jerusalem.” It offers a different experience of the city: one of urban legends and personal stories, different cultures and communities, memories and souvenirs, past and present.
Part of the 2023 Jerusalem Design Week, the project showcases the result of “matchmaking” between buildings in the city, storytellers, and local designers. The building is the physical space where the plot unfolds, and the storyteller is the artisan, a bearer of personal memory. The third element, the act of design, serves as a bridge between the verbal story and the material world of form by envisioning new, imagined souvenirs that encapsulate the place, the story, and the time.
Jerusalem spreads wide and far across time and space, its physical boundaries diffuse. It is a city overflowing with culture—and memory. Every person has a story to tell; at every corner, there is a house that holds secrets and tales. We do not presume to give expression to all the stories embedded in the Jerusalem stone. Our only hope is that the stories we selected will offer a fresh perspective on the city, one that pierces through the symbols and reads it as a human constellation of individuals.
Shahar Koshet • Nevo Himmelhoch • Elad Medan & Roy Amit • Yonatan Assouline, Ben Drusinsky & Ronen Miller • Yaar Benvenisti • Carmel Yedid Leibowitz, Doron Tavory, Amir Levi, Masha Zur Glozman, Netta Yedid • Tzachi Avinoam, Nova Dobel, Amir Harash, Neta Atzmon • Osher Ben Yehuda • Tsuff Myers & Johnathan Shoshani
“If men could manage all their affairs by a definite plan, or if they never ran into bad luck, they would never succumb to superstition,” wrote Spinoza. However, luck is not always on our side, and we are not known for our ability to manage our affairs by a definite plan. And so, we are very much “ready to believe anything.”
The desire to find logic and reason, even when there are none, often makes us choose false certainty over hard truths. It may not be useful, but it certainly feels better (at least in the short term). This is probably one of the reasons for the enduring popularity of prophets throughout history. Whether they foretell salvation or an apocalypse, whether they are religious, political, or technological, false prophets or true, we just want to be convinced by them. We want to believe that someone actually knows.
Like prophets, designers also try to predict and shape the future—driven by a desire to remain relevant in a changing world, be the first to offer solutions to challenges that loom on the horizon, or dictate new needs and maximize sales.
Set up in the Hansen House yard, The Prophets’ Avenue presents a plethora of questions and answers surrounding the role of prophecy in our life. People, machines, and objects offer, each in their own way, an intimate moment of being and engaging in (at times, playful) dialogue with the perennial question: What will become of us?
Noam Ina Kisch & Yuval Ayali • Alon Halamit • Yosef Mashiach & Guy Moses • Nir Chehanowski - Studio Cheha • Netta Nahardiya & Iddo Charny • Melani Hekimoglu, Tamar Lamdan & Carmit Shine • HQ architects: Keshet Rosenblum, Josh Horovitz, Ayal Pomerantz, Dor Bellaiche, Erez Ella • MEATS Elisava - Roger Paez, Toni Montes, Gabi Paré, Maria de la Cámara, Students: Esther Abad, Joana Bisbe, Clàudia Blanes, Carla Camín, Alberto Cantera, Joan Carreres, Maria Casadellà, Aina Engelhard, Aina Flores, Nils Kamminga, Sofía Martín, Cristina Peiris, Carme Roig, Ariadna Sala, Clara Viladecans
Humans see in the light and struggle to find their way in the dark. Perhaps this fundamental physiological fact is the basis for the enduring philosophical, spiritual, and artistic link between light and that which is true, accurate, and sublime. The darkness of night invites vagueness and a sense of deception and mystery—but in the light, everything becomes clear.
It is no coincidence that Plato’s Allegory of the Cave became one of the cornerstones of Western philosophical and religious thought. The prisoners in the allegory are chained inside a cave. Seeing nothing but the shadows cast on the wall, they believe these shadows to be the truth. One prisoner, “the lover of wisdom,” manages to free himself, realizes that the shadows are nothing but an illusion, and even gets out into the world of truth and light. Struggling initially, he gradually gets used to the light. Eventually, he can even see the sun.
Plato claimed that the shadows were the material world, the formation, the lie, and that beyond them stretched an ideal timeless and immaterial world, the world of truth.
But is there light without darkness? Darkness without light? This exhibition is an opportunity to examine the affinity between truth and illusion through the eternal interplay between light and darkness. Enter the cave or step outside—surrender to the comforting illusion or strive to uncover its underlying mechanisms.