Neo-Brutalism integrates techniques of new media – surveillance technologies, robotics, image processing and machine learning – with videos and physical objects produced with low-tech tehnologies. This is in many ways a nihilistic exhibition, but poetic and full of humor. It deals defiantly with mechanisms of control and propaganda, with capitalist mechanisms, with feminism, religion, stereotypes of the Israeli character, and with the Arab-Israeli conflict. It presents clichés and at the same time ridicules them and deconstructs them to a level that is empty of content. It is at once political and a-political, concrete and abstract, deals with global issues and touches on the most delicate facets of social and political reality in Israel.
[read more=”+” less=”-“] The exhibition cages violence that is camouflaged in a cloak of playfulness and humor. The feeling of violence is present at all levels: both in the context of the exhibits themselves, and towards visitors to the exhibition. The works on display deal with mechanisms of cultural coercion and regimentation, and with methods of enforcing power and propaganda; Actions involving disruption of movement, surveillance, fire, shooting and obstruction are represented or actually take place in the gallery spaces, and give rise to a surprising world of many contrasts. Despite the restraint radiated by the works presented here, they exist in the range from contempt and shame to heroic and full of pathos, while sliding towards the pathetic, the banal and the absurd.
hidden textIn his works, Bartal grants visibility to the existence of hidden technologies whose presence is not felt. These are technologies that are widely used with the aim of trapping the subject in every aspect of his existence: his consciousness, by means of propaganda and publicity, and his body by monitoring is movements and disrupting them with the help of surveillance technologies and hidden automation systems. These technologies become evident in the gallery spaces exposing the mechanism to a fully absurd extent. They are clumsy, (apparently) sloppy in design, and visibly present in the space.
The cyclical movement becomes dominant in the exhibition, and it is this that drives the events within it: this is meditative movement that huddles into itself and sustains different disruption devices – textual, spatial and cultural. Although this is a dynamic exhibition that changes its appearance depending on the actions within, almost nothing in it changes over time. The acts that take place, both in the gallery itself and in the virtual spaces it presents, circle round themselves with Sisyphic cyclicity, and represent existential despair at the lack of a way out; but at the same time they can be seen as a proposal for a more optimistic view by means of a renewed observation of reality.[/read]