What does a Palestinian woman daily negotiating Israel’s security barrier have in common with an Israeli woman who experienced the 2005 Disengagement from Gush Katif? Or a gay man who disapproves of society’s emphasis on procreation, and a woman who invented a hi-tech app for children to overcome speech developmental difficulties? And then there’s an innovative clothing designer who created an entire fashion line using a 3D printer.
The common denominator: All five creative twentysomethings are recent graduates of arts and design universities in Israel who recently displayed their varied talents and products at their institutions graduate shows.
The shows this summer at Bezalel Academy, Holon Institute of Technology (HIT), and Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, high-profile, heavily produced events, provide the platforms for budding artists and designers with a wide range of perspectives and aesthetics to showcase their work.
Now, a few weeks after the runways have cleared, The Times of Israel looks at five talented artists woth keeping an eye on.
A series of Bezalel photography graduate Salam Qasem‘s video work deals with the artist’s current reality as a Palestinian woman living behind Jerusalem’s security barrier.
Her videos show Palestinian people of all ages interacting with the wall in various ways. In “Sireen Dancing,” a woman performs a dance in front of it; in “Super Man,” a man pushes at it with the force of his body.
Two of the videos, called “Salah o Saba,” feature children – Qasem’s nephews – playing a sort of make believe game, in which one boy plays a Palestinian trying to get past the wall into Israel and another plays an Israeli soldier rejecting the other’s “green ID.”
Qasem explained at the show that it was easy for her nephews to act out this game because they themselves regularly deal with trying to get past the wall.
“This is my life,” she said, “what I am living day-to-day.”
Qasem, who also works as a photographer for private events, expressed gratitude to Bezalel, which she said, “always allows her to express her opinions” and share her viewpoint.
Danit Peleg graduated from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design with a degree in Fashion Design, and is already making waves in the international fashion world with her five piece collection of 3D printed clothing and footwear.
Though other students have worked with 3D printers to create accessories or textiles, Peleg was the first at Shenkar – or anywhere – to design an entire collection using home, rather than industrial sized, printers.
“I didn’t know anything about 3D printing before I started this project,” Peleg admitted.
But she was determined to work with the technology to create a model for print-your-own fashion – and to prove her skeptical professors wrong.
Not having a legacy of 3D fashion designers to look back at “pushed me to continue my research,” Peleg said.
So Peleg did her research, discovered the material FilaFlex – which she described as “much softer and more flexible” than materials previously used to print clothing – and got the Spanish company to sponsor her project by sending spools of fabric. And Peleg got help from 3D labs in Tel Aviv and Givatayim for months before she brought her own printer home to her Tel Aviv studio.
Though Peleg didn’t win Shenkar’s prize for best final project, a video produced about Peleg’s five-piece collection has garnered more than one million views as viewers marvel at the rubbery, dishwasher-safe collection.
Peleg said that though she wasn’t expecting all the media attention, she is happy about it – because she hopes publicizing her process will encourage other designers to begin working 3D printers.
Yocheved Frimer’s final project at HIT, “Sand of Time” – which won her an excellence award from the Interior Design departments – deals with her memories of the Netzarim settlement in Gush Katif before the 2005 disengagement, or pullout of Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip.
Frimer’s installation consisted of a room whose floor was lined with sand. Visitors were asked to remove their shoes and walk around the small divided sections of the room barefoot.
Two of the sections displayed Frimer’s videos, projected onto the sand-covered floor. The first video is a loop of Frimer gathering together a mound of sand and then promptly destroying it.
In the second video, Frimer constructs an entire map out of sand and other materials, beginning with that same mound, which lies at the city’s center. After spending five minutes constructing the detailed map, the artist drags a rake across it slowly and repeatedly, destroying the city.
Frimer, who is not from Gush Katif but who spent a considerable amount of time with friends in Netzarim in the weeks before the disengagement, based the map primarily on her memory of the settlement.
Many Gush Katif evacuees have the custom to display bottled sand from their former home in their current houses, Frimer explained at the show, which is why she featured it so prominently in her work. Frimer said that she also chose to work with sand for its quality of being hard to grasp.
For the display, Frimer used sand from Holon – which she admired for its fine and bright qualities – in lieu of sand from what is now the Gaza Strip.
Noi Navve’s “Looproduction” is an animated mock campaign for people who do not want children that won him the Dean’s Excellence award at HIT.
The four-minute film begins with a penguin giving birth and raising a child penguin, who the penguin nurtures and feeds as the child quickly grows into a teenager and then an adult, eventually birthing its own child. This pattern continues on a seemingly endless loop until, finally, one penguin crushes its yet un-hatched egg with its foot.
Navve said he chose penguins because they are monogamous and, like humans, “when they have a baby they feed and encourage it.”
The film is fast-paced and monotone (white and grayish-blue), dialogue-free, and contains original music by Ran Gil. All this, Navve said, is to convey the coldness he feels towards having children.
Navve, who graduated from the Visual Communications department, said he made the film because he feels that generally, society as a whole pressures individuals to want to have children and that, for some, having children is not a personal choice but merely following a predetermined loop.
Navve, as a gay man who does not want to be a father, said that with “Looproduction,” “I’m talking to my audience, to people who think like me.”
Nitzan Pode Yuster
A recipient of an excellence award from HIT’s department of Visual Communications, Nitzan Pode Yuster created an app for her graduate project that helps children with speech development – while having fun.
“A to Zoo – Pronunciation Game” is an audio-interactive game for children who have difficulties with speech and communication. The game uses an animal as a representative for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet (e.g. the “arnav” [rabbit] represents the letter aleph).
The child playing must make various sounds to allow the corresponding animal to advance in its challenges (e.g. saying “ah” lets the rabbit jump over a fire hydrant obstacle). If the player makes the wrong sound, the animal might fall to the ground or be hit in the head by a falling apple.
Pode Yuster created the app as an easy, fun, and effective way for kids today to improve the types of difficulties with speech and pronunciation that she herself had as a child.