When Stating The Obvious Becomes Radical

Video Installation 6:50 minutes | Animation | Summer 2023

When Stating The Obvious Becomes Radical was a video installation part of a Common Ground group exhibition at the UdK in June 2023

A speculative what-if scenario, the video portrays an imitation of a Breaking News segment from an international news media outlet, CNN news broadcaster. It presents a fictional Israeli prime minister named Dror Kerem, addressing the nation of Israel and the world from a conference room. In this hypothetical scenario, the prime minister offers an apology for the crimes committed during the Nakba (the catastrophe), in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly displaced, ethnically cleansed, and subjected to massacres to make way for Israeli settlers and the establishment of the Israeli state. However, due to the sensitivity of the Nakba, the term itself is censored in Israel (and also in Germany since Berlin banned Nakba remembrance demonstrations), and apologizing for it would be considered radical and requires a considerable amount of imagination, the shape of a state that might come after such an apology and call for reconciliation. Another contentious topic explored is the fate of the millions of Palestinians who were expelled from their lands and have lived in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria since 1948. Their right of return, which has been denied by Israel, is a matter that would alter the demographic balance and challenges the preservation of a Jewish majority. Allowing Palestinians to return to their homes, in this hypothetical scenario, while considering the demographic aspect, is an important arguing point that requires an immense capacity for visionary spirit needed to articulate what this change in demographics means for all parties concerned.

With the assistance of ChatGPT, I provided prompts encompassing these crucial topics, including key points within post-colonial and settler colonialism theory. The aim was to generate a “tear-jerking” and aspirational speech that elicits a response in the bodies of spectators to the point of tears. The speech was then delivered, captured through motion capture technology, and transferred to an animated 3D character using Methuman by Unreal. This open-source game engine facilitated the creation of the setting where the speech took place.

Another visual layer was incorporated into the video to simulate an authentic Breaking News segment. This included the addition of on-air design elements, such as a clock showing the time of the speech and various headlines strategically placed to emphasize crucial aspects of the Prime Minister’s message. These headlines serve to highlight important themes and capture the attention of the viewer, creating a layered visual experience that adds depth to the overall narrative. Furthermore, room ambient sound effects were included to enhance the overall realism of the piece.