The Center for Art-based Research and Change
For our first discussion, the Center for Art-Based Research and Change invited experts from various disciplines to reflect upon the interplay between visual images and words in their work, using words and/or visual images.

Margalit Berriet, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

A fine arts artists and curator

Founder & President of Memory of the Future

As an artist, the relation to the universal has always interested me. My relationship to art comes from an intimate and intuitive conviction that the arts are the languages of humanity and they are the mirrors of the entire endeavour of humankinds ever since.

Humanities; what unites us?

Intuitions or sensitivity, the ability to think, or our essences?

Antonio Damasio, a neurobiologist, works on the theme of memory, language and creativity. He showed the fundamental role of emotional, innovative and imaginative intelligence in the construction of cognitive and logical intelligence. He pays homage in his work to Spinoza, who has brought together body and intuition, logic and creation, and who has seen in emotions the very foundation of human culture.

Nowhere on Earth there is a population without language or Arts. Man’s need to express, produce and transmit, thus has led to the use of representative images,

movements or sounds, reflecting the way he/she perceives and deciphers the world.

Thought are composed of memories, impressions, feelings, doubts and an ability to imagine, yet, by Approaching the arts, and more specifically the artistic languages, makes it possible to approach the symbolic thought, and the needs of humanity to accord sense, knowledge, understandings, roles and order to its life with the others, as with their environment.

From gazing, to seeing, the act of perception and comprehension decrypted the environment.

In 2000, I began this research as a “journey” around the humanities, using infinites expressions of the Arts, from different periods and places in the world, aiming to discover what connects people beyond their individual and collective differences.

My curiosity was first nourished by objects created more than 37,000 years before our era portraying a concrete or abstract language, a symbolic code. A repertoire of engravings, ornaments and tools indicates plural, common and universal thought or comprehensions. Objects, from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, America or Oceania, carry similarities in their grammar, a repetitive use of signs, iconogram, pictogram, psychogram, as the choice of places, where they are executed.

The Arts are expressions and emulates of the human thought; they are historical and documentaries traces of utilitarian’s, ceremonials, and ethics and aesthetics practices.

My comparative observations have persuaded me that by attributing meaning to the elements that make up our universe, we have composed the grammar of our languages and of our communications. We are the authors of the bricks of our cognitive thinking, tools of conceptions and of knowledge.

Symbolic readings highlight the similitude between the different people as between cultures; they offer the opportunity for a new discovery of the others.

They are great tools for promoting the mingling and convergences of human beings.

Symbols offers us a universal palette of signs and references found throughout the world, and which compose an infinity and poetic ways to express in unique messages, as a matrix of our fantastic diversities and pluralism.

By creating the organization Memory of the Future – Arts and Society, I wanted to share this understanding, offering a public of very different backgrounds a voyage via cultures, places or times, while encouraging them for an intuitive and sensitive lecture of our histories and patrimonies via the Arts, leading one to discover pluralism, as to identify common idioms and dialects of shapes, colours, sounds, movements or materials. At the same time, I wished to invite each, within their differences, to express their comprehension of things as of the world, as of oneself, in a unique and a freeway.

I found that symbols are a language that is used by each and accessible to all, a language that can reflect a universal “grammar”.

The last research shows that the most ancient different artistic expressions, throughout the entire world, illustrate one similar typology, the same choice thematic, and the same type of association. Even their style is fundamentally inscribed in one and the same sequence limited in variations. Therefore it seems to be justified to speak about one & unique visual language, springing from the same language, from the exact same association of ideas and from a universal symbolisms that compose the human mental essence, which produced his imprint, under the form we call ART, and that is engraved on the rocks and walls the entire world where population lived by early civilization, before the birth of the written language.0 F1

1 Introducing the World Archives of Rock Art (WARA): 50.000 years of visual arts Emmanuel Anati Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici, Published in New discoveries, new interpretations, new research methods, XXI Valcamonica Symposium , Capo di Ponte, Edizioni del Centro, 2004, pp.51-69. Source: http://www.ccsp.it/ANATI WARA rev PRE.htm

This text is dedicated to all those who are ready to be guided by their intuition, sensibility and sensitivity to find what we share with the other and learn the common language of Humanities.

Through this research, I hope to sensitize each to the links between individuals, cultures, origins, and humanities and sciences, as an intercultural journey will foster the meetings, dialogues, questions, inquiries, foundations and mutual understanding between all differences.

Intangible cultural heritage is a living set and a perpetually constant re-creation of practices, knowledge and of representations, that enabling individuals and communities at all levels of society to express ways of seeing the world through systems values and ethihcal standards.

Ratna Gandhi, India.

Artist

Curator and Art Instructor

As an artist the composition (the forms I select and the way they are presented) and the title of my sculptures play a very important role in my art. Visual images and words go hand in hand in my work. At the same time the use of images and words is done in such a way that it interprets differently to the viewers. I wish my viewers to decipher their own understanding of the situation, my art to being just the medium.

 

My sculptures are inspired by Aristotle’s theory of Catharsis, where my art helps viewers to release their repressed emotions.

 

sBoth the sculptures `Missing white’ and `Splited’ are inspired by the communal riots experienced by me in the year 2002. This was one such incident where the whole social fabric of the country was tarnished. Through my sculptures I have tried to express my concern for the human community and at the same time the title of my works and the way the forms are presented to the viewers,  makes them think on the issue at least once and leaves them to interpret it in their own way.

 

For eg. In the sculpture `Missing White’ I have used the colors of Indian flag where the white color (which stands for peace) is replaced with a hand. The hand here again represents a small piece of land for which generations of Hindus and Muslims have been fighting for. Some people don’t even know the root cause of these generation old fight but they blindly follow what they are taught or they understand, which is shown in my sculpture `Splited’. The chain, lock and bag represents some of our beliefs that we follow without any proper understanding or with a blocked mind.

Doron Polak, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Performance artist and curator

Founder and representative of the International Artistsw Museum, the Israeli center

My art focuses on the encounter between the human body and material—mostly recycled—objects, while redefining their interaction with symbols and insights.

I find it critical to reference both the word and the experience in my work, based on the energetic power of words. Much of my inspiration in this regard derives from Kabbalah and mysticism.

For five years I confronted my body with old books, mostly ones found discarded on the street, trying to grasp the essence of the printed word.

In my body work, I explored a unique, literal meaning of the phrase “People of the Book.” It was important to me that the open book be placed on my neck and the words be directly “connected” to me by physically touching my body.

Many of the physical exhibits relate to the muse of classics such as Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, Nathan Alterman, Walter Benjamin and Paul Celan.

I dedicated one particular artwork to Michel Foucault’s article “Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias,” which formulated in complex writing the significance of oppression and control.

Another central creation in my work is the “Golemetamorphosis” – which combines the Frankensteinish “Golem” in Jewish folklore with Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis.” The words printed in newspapers covering my body affected me tremendously, and transformed me from a living, breathing human into an animal-like mutant.

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