itai.almor@gmail.com

itaialmor.com

Diary

April 14, 2020

This video is a diary entry that attempts to take on the physical mass of this dense chunk of time.  I reflect on working at home during COVID-19 to complete my year-long art project about  home-making. My bedroom becomes my studio, gallery, subject, and muse. At the time of this writing, the project is not complete. But with the academic year reaching its end, an inventory of feelings, memories, objects and art-things is in order. Without my realizing it, the year's process, unfinished as it is, has resulted in quantities. My attempts to process a traumatic family history has wrought shapes into my body, my space and my artwork.

collected entries

 

May 5, 2019

Inspired by the experimental photography techniques of Israeli video artist Michal Rovner and her focus on falsified and abstracted proximity and on the space between reality and fantasy. I acetone transfer a photo I'd taken of my mother at the Sea of Galilee onto acetate, turn it into a slide, project it onto my bedroom wall and photograph the intervention. This is my first step into the layers of fantasy and fear mediating between me and the histories I've inherited.

 

June 14, 2019

At home in South Carolina, my family discusses Israel over dinner. I feel mired and mucked in loyalties to selves and homes I can't satisfactorily articulate or justify. Being suspended between worlds makes me feel dirty, prefabricated, performative - a lump or a shell.

June 27, 2019

My concerted effort begins with my grandma's story, which is a Holocaust story. I translated the account of it that she wrote as a teenager  and begin a journey following it through Europe, through the towns she and her parents fled to and hid. I started in Vienna, outside the address where she was born, a brand new apartment building now erected there.

July 22, 2019

 

Eventually I make it to Tel Aviv, where my grandma moved after the war and still lives. As an adult she became a hoarder. I live in one of her apartments with some of her collections. I turn my focus towards the question of what objects do to channel and cache memory, fantasy and anxiety. How a home space filled with objects is layered with memories only you can know, like a surrogate inside-skin, extruded outward from your surface.

July 23, 2019

After conversing with my grandparents... How does trauma press into a body and easily pull syllogisms apart?

August 4, 2019

 

In a box in a stack in the apartment, I find an old family photo my parents must have mailed there years ago. It's from a Passover seder, when we still lived in LA. There I am, peeking out from behind my grandmother's back. I don't have any memory of that day. I sleep with it taped to the headboard above me.

August 6, 2019

Sorting through the books, clothes, bags, electronics, supplies, tools, makeup, jewelry, candles, decorations, furniture - is a toxic task. For the first time in this project, I dawn a face mask with a respiration filter. Decades old dust still dries out my eyes. I dance into the collections, trying to melt into them, trying to understand them. I want to know what purpose each thing has served, what wound it might have healed. Nausea sinks in as I see that these objects are bereft of identity at all.

 

September 23, 2019

I return to my home at school and remodel my room, making of it an experiment in home building. What objects, colors, materials mean comfort and safety to me, how do they do so, and what does it mean that they do? I paint a mural onto my wall and fit it with a wood window frame. A sunset and faraway ocean. A place inhabited by a fantastical version of myself, always warm and always happy. An imagined outside, both exciting my domestic interior and pointing to moments when I'd come to feel trapped in it, wishing for escape.

September 30, 2019

The hippo is a visceral reminder of two past selves: six-year-old me and the me from this past summer. My identity is frozen into it like exposed emulsion. (When I felt looking at it, as I sometimes do, the yearning to return to my childhood state, I noted that the past is present in my desire to escape my current conditions, expressing itself in the formation of the self I project into an elsewhere.) Its singular identity resonates with and against the massive presence of the pile in my grandparent’s apartment.

 

October 22, 2019

How can the things I've been making, arrayed like a set, imply my hands, my confused and working presence - the objects of my ruminations becoming the stage for my ruminations?

Moving further into sculpture, with this ark, I repurpose aged wood from the dumpster by my house for the first time, hammer it into a tight, suffocating enclosure, fill it with the implication of a bedroom and bar it from above with rebar, by which I upend the structural foundation material of a house, giving it over to gravity.

 

November 16, 2019

I bring the gutter with me to the beach and set it in the sand. I can imagine that the waves are arriving at my feet from every place I’ve ever been or heard about. The gutter is my friend; we’ve been sharing the studio for months now. The air is frigid, the sand is thick, and the water is immense. I imagine that I have built a home with the gutter, dance my way around it, finding its forms in my own. And then I must leave it behind, and I walk into the ocean, waving back all the while, and it, set vertical in the breeze, returns my farewell. The water is so cold I go numb immediately and don’t make it past my knees.

November 21, 2019

I build a model plane out of an old, warped door I found in the dumpster, and a four-panel window out of an old standing partition from the same dumpster. On the top right is a video cut together from traveling over the summer and footage from my performance with the gutter on the beach. On the other three, slow and unending static, footage sourced from my grandparents' apartment. In one an electric kettle slowly boils. In the second, a small TV runs snow, and in the third an electric fan blows. The gap between them separates a wandering mind from a still body. The plane by the screens, flat on the ground is like the DIY yard of a collector, where decomposing scrap might take on a magical life in the mind.

 

December 12, 2019

Absent presence. That feeling of the now when it is laden with the then, of when a dead object carries the implication of the life that made or collected or placed it, of when a far-away place is saddled with an impossible bundle of hopes, nostalgia, grudges, anger and fear, and of the distance between a secret mental fantasyscape and the stillness/emptiness/coolness of the body’s external conditions. The feeling of unlocated presence led me to Mike Kelley’s Uncanny, which led me to create Yovenitskah. Touch points on her body trigger video projections, like memories shaken from their muscly nests.

 

January 18, 2020

Feelings made of here and there.

January 22, 2020

My home is so much the friends with whom I built it. Their images reproduce themselves in every space I inhabit and fill, including my studio. 

February 4, 2020

Images of the landscape of my home in South Carolina, found online, printed in inky layers on a risograph, transferred with cooking oil onto fabrics I've collected, stuffed like pillows with fluff or like pockets with small treasures. Images repeatedly mediated, still comfortable, still well-touched and worn.

February 29, 2020

Clothes, papers and bottles (personal collections) in painted clumps of clay/sand/pinestraw. The mud mixture is based on an ancient method of adobe construction now being used for sustainable construction in the Negev desert. I'm going to surround myself in walls like these and play on the ground with mud/trash animals...

March 24, 2020

It's COVID time. My sculptures are in the studio. I'm at home. What is this project going to be? Watercolor?

April 8, 2020

I'm building something in my bedroom. Cutting through its center, filling it, making it impassible, though it's all but empty. From below, the structure is a palace for a little body to enjoy. 

April 14, 2020

What have I made?

April 23, 2020

This reliquary is the last thing I'll write about here. It's made of sticks from our back yard, and plaster I found in the closet. The box front holds a copy of the key to our house that does not work. The green spruce is from a fir tree I planted with my housemates, a sapling that will grow tall here after I move out. The paper is handmade from mail addressed to past occupants of our house that still arrives here almost every day. The self portrait builds, just as the sensitivity, knowledge and deftness of my attempts at making home will too.

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