Commissioned by Steirischer Herbst Festival 2020
The film examines the roles of silence, silencing and listening in the politics of dominant national narratives and how socially accepted violence is constructed through the disciplines of witness testimonies in historical trauma studies and in post-colonial and post-Holocaust discourses.
The artwork reconstructs three piano performances of the 20th century avant-garde: John Cage’s seminal work 4’33 in the late 1970s, where the intended silence was interrupted by an Israeli audience’s spontaneous performance of a nationalistic song; the radical composer George Antheil’s confrontation of his audience with a loaded gun in a concert in Budapest in 1923; and the first documented art performance of a piano demolition by the Wiener Gruppe in 1959. The three events function as hallucinatory allegories to contemplate the complex dynamics between the historical witness and society.
This triangulation of performer-sound-audience is reflected in a recent real-life event, where the testimony of an Israeli soldier as a violent perpetrator in the occupied territories, was discredited and denied by the state. This negation of culpability sidelines the story from the real victims and exposes the soldier’s moral ambiguity.Written and Directed by Dani Gal
Camera: Itay Marom
Produced by: Kirberg Motors and Blood Mountain Projects
With: Itay Tiran and Dulcie Smart
Dani Gal in conversation with David Riff,
Steirischer Herbst – Paranoia TV, 2020