Bewteen Homelands  

 

Video with sound, 2008

Duration: 5:45 minutes

Filming & editing: Inga Fonar Cocos

Sound: Itai Matos

Sound design: Inga Fonar Cocos

Recordings: Eshel Sound Studios

Poem: Stanislaw Baranczak

Translation Polish-English:  Frank Kujawinski

Translation Polish-Hebrew: David Weinfeld

 

Thanks to:  Oranim Art Institute, Oranim Academic College, Israel – Guest artist program Garden for Zoological Research Tel-Aviv University, Teresa Smiechowska, Aliza Fonar, Yoram Raviv Video equipment, Moshe Cocos

Synopsis

 

Between the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea - a panoramic Polish landscape seen from a moving train is telling a story of constant impermanence and impossibility to settle down anywhere on the globe.

This video work is based on documentary materials: postcards collection from the 1940s and the 1950s Fonar Cocos’ parents kept in a large album, black-and-white photographs that were taken after their return to Warsaw at the aftermath of the Second World War, and photographs that the artist herself took during a sojourn in Poland.

The movement and the changing landscapes parallel the movement between reality and memory, flashes of remembrance and moments of reflection. The moving images (stills & video) evoke awareness of time – time fleeting, dreamlike time, gaps in time, memory of time. By bringing together images of present and dimensions of past the film reveals hidden ties between remembering, trauma and self.

”Dealing with present time, memory and pain the film successfully translates Fonar Cocos’  three-dimensional language into a flow of moving images that motivate changing rhythms of consciousness, while also harboring a continuum of absence.”

(Dr. Galia Bar-Or, Chief Curator Ein-Harod Museum of Art)

The original soundtrack is composed of a dialogue between two women – two voices: an older one (the artists’ mother) and a young who recite a poem by polish poet Stansilaw Baranczak ('If Only Porcelain').

 

 

Dr. Galia Bar Or, director and chief curator at the Museum of Art Ein-Harod writes about the work Between Homelands:

 

Fonar Cocos has recently completed a video work composed of still photographs, and titled Between Homelands; it features a panoramic Polish landscape seen from a moving train, as well as documentary elements. The moving train and changing landscapes parallel the movement between the realms of reality and memory, flashes of remembrance and moments of reflection. This video work is based on a postcard collection from the 1940s and 1950s, which Fonar Cocos' parents kept in a hefty album; it also features black-and-white photographs that were taken after their return to Warsaw in the aftermath of the Second World War, and photographs that the artist herself took during a 2007 sojourn in Poland. This film successfully translates Fonar Cocos' three-dimensional language into a flow of moving images that motivate changing rhythms of consciousness, while also harboring a continuum of absence – a dark screen devoid of images.

 

It seems that the owl filmed in this video work appears in homage to artist Chris Marker, who studied the cultural memory of the 20th century in various mediums – photography, cinema, writing, video art and installation art [1]. Marker frequently included images of owls in works such as the film Description of a Struggle (The Third Side of the Coin), which was filmed in Israel in the early 1960s and included simultaneous images culled from natural and artificial worlds. The film juxtaposed an electronic device photographed at the Weizmann Institute (an oscilloscope, which registers fluctuations in an electric current) and owls at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. According to Fonar Cocos herself, she was influenced by Marker's iconic film The Pier (1962), which brings together images of the future, present and past. This influence is given significant expression in her film and in the affinities it reveals between remembering, trauma, selfhood and death.

 

As she examines the fluid boundaries of the term "home," Fonar Cocos touches upon this "untouched thing" (in the words of David Avidan). In this sense, her work also reveals an affinity with the work of Avidan, whose poem appears as a preface to this essay – an interdisciplinary artist who developed his own unique language. Like Avidan's poem, Inga Fonar Cocos' journey does not circumvent sites of blindness and disruption; it traverses biographical regions and represents worlds both near and far, groping for the place where one may touch on understanding without touching.

 

[1] Catherine Lupton, Chris Marker: Memories from the Future. London: Reaktion Books, 2004.

© 2015 by Inga Fonar Cocos.

Designed by Gidi Gilam