Irit Garty & Isaac Layish
The starting point for our films
is research-based, creating a narrative form corresponding to historical
or real events, such as news reports or the histories of architectonic
and urban environments, and relating to wider national identities
and social realities.
Using an array of visual techniques,
from computer animation to a first person narrative printed on the
screen, the outcome is always a composite created from documentary
and fiction. While researching, the facts that capture
our attention the most are the unreal or untrue ones;
The rumors, second and third hand stories - twisted and reinvented
to suit myths, presumptions and exaggerations of reality. As narrators
we use this as a tool and at times choose to exaggerate reality
ourselves; fill the gaps in the documentary, first hand,
stories we tell with fiction and rumors that we have heard, and
larger narratives that have been processed via a personal screen.
In our films there is a constant
battle between facts and fiction. We use the form of documentary
and presentation of testimonies, which would prove the
viewer with the truth of the stories and at the same time make him
question what he is being told.
We are interested in how urban
and architectural environments, including the space created electronically
by the media (i.e. television and the internet), reflect social
and political identities and tell stories about the myths and values
people create around these environments from national identity
and pride, notion of family and un-homeliness to racism violence
Recent work statement
The S.S. Shalom.(2003)
In 1962 a film called The Birth of Shalom was made in
the French shipyard of Chantier de lAtlantique at St. Nazaire
, documenting the construction of the S.S. Shalom, flagship
of ZIM, Israels national shipping company.
It was to be the first of two films dedicated to the Shalom,
a world-peace themed cruise liner designed by Israeli Architects
and interior designers Dora Gad, Arie Noy and Professor Al Mansfeld.
The ship, until recent years relatively unknown in the Israeli public
psyche, was fitted with the finest furnishings of its time, and
conceived as an integrated work of total design, art and architecture.
Furniture by Eames and Jacobsen were on board beside art works commissioned,
among others, from American artist Ben Shahn and Israelis Danny
Caravan and Yaacov Agam.
The second film was planned to focus on the interior design, the
ships decor and its maiden voyage, but this film was
This is the starting point of the film The S.S. Shalom.
The film is constructed of Found materials such as the original
brochures from the ship, text from a governmental report, commissioned
in 1966 to look into problems occurring on the ship, and newspapers
Barrier (2002) is comprised
of two narratives running parallel and telling the story of the
only encounter the narrators have had with a Palestinian.
These are quasi-autobiographical texts, told in the first person
in a journalistic fashion, focusing on two violent events. They
implicate the writers and describe the psychological effects of
an almost mundane racism and everyday form of conflict and confrontation.
The visuals set out to enhance this sense of Barrier
or separation and complicate it by incorporating surveillance type
shots and images of Palestinians photographed through peepholes,
setting up a view from an uncomfortable distance.
At the centre of "Tower" (2002)
is a modernist high rise that was built in the late sixties in Tel
Aviv, Israel. The "Shalom" tower was for 22 years the
highest building in the Middle East and served as a monument for
national pride as well as being a recreational centre.
Today the building is, for the most part, deserted, and all it's
attractions have closed.
Stills and panning shots of the building serve as a backdrop for
the narration of stories. Some of these are personal, while others
have their origins in the media or overheard rumors (mainly with
the themes of technological, cultural and national obsolescence).
The stories are read out by a mechanical alter ego - the storyteller's
computer, that through his role as narrator, tries to assess his
own cultural identity and that of the "original" storytellers,
which are trying to deal with death, memory and a physical distance
from their country.
"Come back home" (2001)
was created solely from appropriated commercials, news footage and
election propaganda. The video reflects on the underlying psyche
of Israeli commercials and election campaigns; the excesses in the
representations of family and homeliness, national identity and