In her videos, Yael Bartana focuses on modern rituals as they relate to Israeli daily life and the constant presence of war. Every year in Israel on "Yom Ha-Zikaron", the Day of Remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of war, sirens are heard throughout the country, calling all citizens to observe two minutes of silence.
In "Trembling Time", she placed her camera at an elevated vantage point overlooking a Tel Aviv highway during the sounding of the sirens in 2001. Bartana prolongs the moment when all activity comes to a halt, creating ghost images in the eerie silence, allowing the viewer to experience the memory-laden ritual as an aesthetic experience. "Trembling Time" depicts one of the rare moments in contemporary Israel when the entire population comes together for a demonstration of unity; it prompts the viewer to consider the power of ritual in Israeli society, and raises questions about the individual's obligation to follow state-sanctioned observances.
Yael Bartana (born 1970) lives in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam
Trembling Time, 2001 (One-channel video-and-sound installation, video projection, 6 min., 20 sec., Soundtrack Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec)
Courtesy Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam
Collection The Israel Museum, Jerusalem