Timeline: vinyl text and photos, 2021
The Black Stick
the White Stick
Developed with the support of the ACC Galerie Weimar, Germany as part of the 'Heimat' residency series.
three steel obelists stand in a dark room

Family Portrait: Steel obelisks with surface transducers, projected subtitles and interviews with my family about my grandfather

I am deeply indebted to my family for their generosity and patience in helping me with this project, especially my aunt Tinkie, my uncle Jono, my grandmother Liz, my great aunt Ruthie, my mother Eva and my brother Max as well Karmit and Lowell, Monica and many others.

In The Black Stick and The White Stick I explore my grandfather’s deathbed confession about the origin of his gunshot wound. He had kept this secret all our lives. In this retelling, the two stories interweave, the truth and the lie, married by habit and time and the onset of dementia; told against the backdrop of the Holocaust, his flight from Romania and the birth of the Jewish state. His story acts as a microcosm of how family and history intersect and how inaccessible the truth of both can be.

The Exhibition begins with an audio portrait of my grandfather by my mother, aunt, uncle and grandmother. You can find full length video with German caption here

island model
A Beautiful Island: prop from the video The Black Stick and The White Stick, 2021

My grandfather was a wounded man.

The doctors said he would never walk again. And yet here he was, walking. This story of the wound was a sort of morality tale that formed the bedrock of our family mythology. Shortly before his death, my grandfather tried to tell my aunt what actually happened.

The following video is an excerpt from the audio recording of my grandfathers confession.

I have attempted to illustrate his narrative using hand made sets.
two channel confession video projection
The Black Stick and The White Stick: two channel video, installation shot, 2021
two visitors watch a video on a vertical screen
Belkow: The Black Stick and The White Stick [Three Stories video triptych]
Audio: Interviews with my grandfather about his life and persecution in the Holocaust
Video: 3D animations and Captions, 2021

Left: My mother and grandmother watch one of the videos.
two visitors watch a video on a vertical screen
“A subtle distribution of fragments, coherently linked...never too long, disservice done to nothing and nobody, always critically self-confident and really funny. An open narrative without superficial, cheap answers”

-Ronald Hirte | Holocaust Memorial Museum, Buchenwald

two channel confession video projection
Top: Timeline and Jokes[installation view]
Vinyl text and illustration, photographs, speaker, sound

Right: Jokes[1/4]
Sound: Recordings of my family telling my grandfather’s signature jokes
Installation: speakers, framed and annotated translations and pictures of my grandfather laughing

two channel confession video projection
two channel confession video projection
Joke told by my brother Max:
Jokes told by my myself and my mother Eva:
Jokes told by my uncle Jono and my mother Eva:
Jokes told by my uncle Jono and myself:

My aunt Tinki has had some questions about my privileged role as the narrator of in this telling of my grandfather's story.

She expressed concern that I was positioning myself as objective in an incredibly subjective process.

In the video below Tinkie turns the tables on me and questions my motives.

This video has English language sound and German captions, as it was first shown in Germany. Please contact me for an English caption version if you require one.