Monday, July 28, 2014

When I was a kid in Israel we lived a 9 min drive from what is now the the Blue Line (Lebanon border) and our city was bombed by Hezbollah multiple times a week for about 10 years. Because Hezbollah rockets of the 90s/Hamas Qassams of today lack precision and are usually fired in a rush, most of the time during a "light" shelling they ended up in open fields or forests. Every once in a while, on somebody's house. Once a rocket flew into my friend's window and onto his bed and didn't explode. As kids we knew what an incoming vs outgoing missile fire sounds like and what to do during a chemical weapon attack. One time my little brother unknowingly dragged an old landmine from a cave he was playing in with his friends and put it under our house and a special unit came with a little robot to disassemble it. Still, somehow in the entire 10 years I've lived in Israel under "constant bombardment" I only knew 3 people who died by missile fire, 1 person who died in the IDF (it was a suicide) and though the situation created crippling panic and fear, even then I was sure it was way worse on the other side as I watched fighter jets flying back and forth.

We received a pretty great “progressive” education in a kibbutz and many of my friends and their parents spoke Arabic and had Arab friends / business partners / close neighbours but in other parts of my life Arab Israelis were always considered second class citizens even (especially) by the many new immigrants who “naturally” fell into shitty nationalism in order to assimilate. Palestinians were THE mysterious enemy, mysterious since the only time we heard about them was when they bombed “our” cities”. There was no mention of them anywhere else and the buildings they had to abandon fifty years prior to that were on the outskirts of towns, near dumpsters and "dead" unused land. We grew up with “mavet le aravim” (death to Arabs) as a default choice for graffiti, seconded maybe by “Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman” (religious graffiti “a sort of rallying cry for returning to traditional Judaism”, pictured above).

I blocked an old friend of mine recently and his last words to me were “go spread your Palestinian propaganda elsewhere, I don't need a friend like you” “your freedom fighters shot a missile into my house and now I am a REFUGEE, I can't go back to my own house for an entire WEEK.” A quick glance at his Facebook page revealed him cuddling a comfy pillow back at his mother's house where he decided to spend his time as a “refugee”, titled “no place like mom's”, followed by photos of him cheersing and laughing over drinks at our old neighbourhood bar. I wanted to tell him about a dear friend of mine whose grandmother walked from Palestine to Jordan barefoot in 1948 to save her family from being bombed by the Palmach, but I kind of couldn't stand looking at his smug little face cuddling the pillow so I just blocked him.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013



In 2003 I was 22 and worked at a sex store with a bunch of other dysfunctionals like me and a boss who was misogynist and sexist and aggressive and violent. He was a real "nice guy". He was also really into paintballing and sometimes took us on paintball trips. One time I walked upstairs to the storage area and found a blow up doll hung from the ceiling by its neck, he put a wig on her and was shooting at her whenever he had a bad day. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

YUULA 1992
My first therapist was named Zehava and she was the best one I ever had. I was thirteen, full of hormones and going through emotional hell and I literally lured her in during one of the routine assessments at school by alluding to a "problem". I knew if I mentioned the "problem" she would request to see me, and I really wanted that to happen but was too shy to ask. During our meetings I talked about everything but the problem. The problem didn't matter anymore because I had Zehava. I talked about my interest in conspiracy theories, that I wanted to be an artist, music I liked, how much I wanted to get out of this shit hole of a school. But mainly I talked to her about my boyfriend and our tumultuous relationship that included a love triangle starring my best friend. I think in retrospect, I just really needed someone to talk to and reflect. An adult who can listen to me and give advice. I was living in a backwards country where at age fourteen I had no resources or support with stuff like sex or pregnancy or suicidal thoughts. At my school you wouldn't even discuss it with your friends, and I had lots of friends but felt very alone. When I was fourteen and a half, a condom broke and I was so terrified of pregnancy I made a suicide pact with myself if I ended up pregnant. I wasn't. At the same time, out of desperation, I wrote a letter to the local teen magazine that had a sex advice column on the back page. It was summer and I couldn't see Zehava and I asked the columnist whether it was possible to have an abortion without parental consent. Three months later the magazine finally printed my anonymous letter but it didn't matter anymore. I moved to a different school and all those messy secrets came pouring out into the ears of my new best friends who were more into high school drama than judging. We all benefited from each other. 

A couple of years ago a therapist told me that our physical irrational fears really symbolize other aspects of our lives that we don't want to deal with. At the time I thought she was a flake. Her theory was so obvious I suspected that she didn't want to take the time to really dissect my clearly very complex issues. She spoke to me in a soft voice sort of like you would speak to a baby and I didn't take her seriously. I called her "the hippie" to my friends. I told her: I've been having this dream, I'm standing in an open space with nowhere to hide in the middle of a storm and there's hail and lightning and I'm frozen and she said: replace the lightning with bombs and it all makes sense, and I thought what a cliche. Until last week when I actually got to stand in an open field in the middle of a lightning storm. I still remember the way my face contorted because it was shaking and I was crying and had no control over it. John said it looked like "deep fear" and I believe it. The hippie  knew I wasn't into her theories, she said: think about your situation as a child, the odds of getting hit by a bomb were higher than ever getting hit by lightning. The lightning was just an abstraction.

I hope you have someone to talk to when something goes wrong because it's important.

I spent a few hours re-reading Under the Sign of Saturn (Sontag) because I was looking for this one passage:

Fascist aesthetics include but go far beyond the rather special celebration of the primitive.....More generally, they flow from (and justify) a preoccupation with situations of control, submissive behaviour, extravagant effort, and the endurance of pain; they endorse two seemingly opposite states, egomania and servitude. The relations of domination and enslavement take the form of a characteristic pageantry: the massing of groups of people; the turning of people into things; the multiplication or replication of things; and the groupings of people/things around an all-powerful, hypnotic leader-figure or force. The fascist dramaturgy centers on the orgiastic transactions between mighty forces and their puppets, uniformly garbed and shown in ever swelling number. Its choreography alternates between ceaseless motion and a congealed static, ‘virile’ posing. Fascist art glorifies surrender, it exalts mindlessness, it glamorizes death.

I've been thinking about monumental art or monuments in general - gestures, fashion, architecture, cold tones, red and black, goth, slick black lines, uniforms, religious symbols, shamanism, heroism, displays of power, large masses of uniformed people standing against large stone monuments, Game of Thrones, Dune, etc... fascism was so aestheticized and this aesthetic still exists and is prevalent, I guess now in a different context, I guess when you aestheticize people and politics, when you express power visually, then you are in trouble. Still, it makes me cringe.

In the 1990s our town didn't have real cable but there was a man who would come to your house and physically adjust your antenna to receive the signal he transmitted from his own house. He was mostly very busy (drunk) and we received all kinds of garbage, cartoons, action movies, porn, sometimes in the wrong time of day. On the weekends before 5pm he would broadcast The Wall by Pink Floyd a few times in a row and we would watch it endlessly because there was nothing else to watch. I was too young to understand what it was about, but watching hammers marching on screen and hearing Israeli planes bomb Lebanon at the same time made so much sense together and even though I didn't understand the meaning of the film I understood that those two things were the same.

Here's a lil song for you. I'm back in Toronto at my home, by my desk, find me here.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 10.30.47 PM
Barb Lindenberg and I made a video together with a group of dancers for her piece ANIMALS, it will be screened at the dance: made in canada / fait au canada Toronto-based biennial festival of contemporary dance, August 14-17, 2013. Click the title for more information. 

I thought about this the other day: you know when you have an intense relationship with a person, physical or even emotional, and then a year passes and you ignore each other on the street, maybe a slight nod, no phone calls, no emails and that's it. I don't mean a one night stand but a friend or an ex lover. As if things ended so awkwardly that now neither one of you wants to acknowledge it by engaging in conversation. Actually probably you just lost interest in each other. I know everyone does it, I do too, but isn't it weird? I thought about this because the other night I had a sexy dream about an old lover and in my dream I was so happy, mostly because I knew it was a dream and I could do whatever I wanted with no reprecussions, but in the morning I woke up and felt kind of grossed out and embarrassed. What's up with that.

It's the end of summer and I hardly picked any wild flowers or had gone to the movies or any parks, someone take me to the ravine please I want to pick some flowers before they die!

Monday, July 15, 2013

typed on Isla Craig's typewriter

typed in this room at this time