Oren Arbel and Naom Tabenkin Arbel – Israel

‘First Reduction’ an installation by Oren Arbel and Naom Tabenkin Arbel is inspired by a short story by the contemporary Syrian writer, Zakaria Tamer, in which a large man is surgically remodelled to ensure he consumes a pre-determined rationed air quantity. Their ‘machine’ compresses unfired vessels made of different layers of ‘local’ clay bodies. This survey of crushed iconic archaeological forms speaks of ancient and recent histories of conquest, and the systemic violence associated with assimilation and ‘normalisation’.

Tamer’s poem follows:

The First Minimazation / Zakaria Tamer

Abed Al-Nabi Al S’ban, a tall, hulking, broad-shouldered man, was arrested and charged with breathing more than the air quota allocated to him at any given moment. He did not deny it, but claimed his giant lungs were solely to blame. Soon thereafter, he was rushed to the hospital. A few weeks later he emerged a new man, short and skinny, his shrunken breast easily accommodating his small lungs, which consume notably less than his official quota of air.

Tamer, Zakaria. Paper Tiger. 2008. Translated to English from the Hebrew version by Michal Ashkenazi.

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