'HYBRID', performance festival, Münster 2001
A newscaster at the table coolly reads a text narrated in the first person about the experiences of a German woman in Israel. Again and again she interrupts herself and lets voices and sounds from Jerusalem have their say. She multiplies her own voice chorally and plays a kettle like a percussion instrument.
The performance reflects the turmoil of the country, but also that of the narrator. A suitcase that can't be packed to the end, yeast dough kneaded into a Jewish challa, a 'Christian"'Easter plait, an Arabic flatbread, airmail letters stamped with Hebrew characters, folded like airplanes and handed to individual spectators, with the translation of each term. Altogether, the words add up to a line from a poem by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai: 'We are the instruments of a hard love.' Finally, the newscaster leaves the room in a large suitcase, with only her head and legs still visible.
Israel: For me, that meant not understanding a language, a culture at first. Maybe that's why it's so special to watch and listen to it. The head - meaning - does not interfere. My ear began to pay attention. Not only the language sounded different, the sound so much more important when the meaning is missing. The country also had different, new sounds. For weeks I roamed around with a microphone, recording what interested me, touched me. Clichés like the muezzins in the Arab part of the Old City of Jerusalem. Or seemingly banal things, a cloudburst in Tel Aviv. Children playing in a courtyard on the Via Dolorosa. Footsteps on the countless stone steps, with the dry echo thrown back by the stone houses, walls, arches. Chants of Orthodox Jews for the Feast of Tabernacles. Conversations of my Israeli roommates in the shared apartment. Israel, a sound hybrid. Antagonistic cultures in a very confined space. Rarely have I lived so intensely, so sensually and brutally at the same time. It was the time of the first suicide bombings, shortly after Rabin's assassination. It didn't seem like the right response to do performances, and yet it was the only one I had.