PhotoFilm - Installation, 2003, installation view (1), Chelouche Gallery, Tel Aviv
The installation 'PhotoFilm' includes 34 photographs that have been taken by the two artists, in the previous two years at several hospitals. The installation intervenes in the gallery space and recreates it as a waiting place, as a roving place. The space of the gallery had been taken and became a long corridor, hermetic unit of space and time that dictates to the visitor ways of seeing and behaving in a pre-signified orbit.
Pictures are hanged along the corridor's walls, sequences of hospital photographs: a planter, a plant, hung picture, curtain, foot, television, signboard and window jamb. These are photographs of an un-hierarchical gaze. Shots that reveal a narrative of waiting, of aimless gazing and of a passive wondering eye.
Mali and Smadar's act of photography is performed by intimate knowing of the place, and of the waiting person's place in public sphere called hospital. The act of photography is done from and about the silence of the place, from and about the muteness of the situation. The silence of this space is one that is accomplished by mechanism of blocking and concealment of sickness, through barring of the gaze and the body, and through decorated aesthetic. A tolerated visibility, apparently familiar.
The place dictates the visible, and the blocked eye - like the act of photography - finds itself in a situation of roving and glancing. For all that silence, Mali and Smadar offer a possibility for a different gaze - other gaze- in their installation. A possibility that doesn’t confront with the power of the place over the hospitalized or its visitor, but rather goes to the edge of the place: to the passages, to the corridors, to the waiting rooms. The roving eye, walking back and forth in a place, is asking to fill the lack of words. The photograph, like the gaze, is not hierarchic, sometimes intentional, sometimes passive and sometimes blind.
The disturbance and contradiction that exist in the waiting space are becoming present by the preserving of the order and aesthetic of this hetrotopic place, in the installation. A presence that leaves the visitor - in the hospital as well as in the installation - in a state of unease and disconcert.