Yael Bartana (born 1970 in Kfar Yehezkel, Israel; lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Berlin, Germany).
Two-channel video and sound installation; 12 min.
“Summer Camp shows the activities of ‘The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions’ (ICAHD); their actions consist amongst others of rebuilding Palestinian houses in the occupied territories. In the summer of 2006 Bartana filmed a group of ICAHD volunteers consisting of Palestinians, Israeli, and various other nationalities, assisted by Palestinian construction workers, who were trying to rebuild in the village of Anata (east of Jerusalem) the former house of Abu Ahmed Al Hadad at exactly the same location where it was demolished by the Israeli authorities at the end of 2005. The result is a phenomenally edited 12-minute image and sound composition in which Bartana uses the same stylistic devices as the Zionist propaganda films from the first half of the twentieth century. It refers directly to Helmar Lerski’s film Awodah from 1934-35, proclaiming the dream of a Zionist state, which is projected on a second screen.”
—”Summer Camp / Awodah, 2007,” website of Yael Bartana.
“Summer Camp also takes on less obvious parallels with its Pathé-era predecessors. Just as it is possible to detect an element of melancholy even in some of the most triumphalist Zionist films—admittedly, this effect is augmented by benefit of hindsight—there is an element of uncertainty here, too. Abu Ahmad is aware that his new home may not survive for long, and that it may be demolished again by the Jewish municipality. In the penultimate shot, the camera looks through the window at Abu Ahmad’s family moving about their new home, until someone inside draws the curtain.”
—Emily Speers Mears, “Yael Bartana’s Summer Camp,” Bidoun (Summer 2007).