Tel Aviv Diary - July 18-22 2009- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - July 23, 2009 Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 23, 2009

I couldn't figure out what crazy instruments Ilya Magnes was playing. He introduced some of them - 'primitive' strings and wind instruments - and I was sitting next to him during his performance so i could see he was recording himself and playing himself back. And he was using something called a 'handsonic' that worked as complex percussion. But it was hard to follow what he was doing because Orly AlCoshi was doing some incredible moves - a kind of sampling of Indian, Egyptian, Turkish, Flamenco and more to his music. And all this on the roof of a house in Jaffa, while a nearby minaret was emitting the final call for prayer for the day.

I walked into a doctor's office and was bowled away by the art. Kadishman's sheep and some other well known paintings and themes impressed me immediately. But then I saw the wall in the waiting room with six pages torn from a German science book and scribbled over and I couldn't look away. No one else was paying attention, but the subtlety of the illustrations - an ancient discussion of the hip joint and then a kind of primitive self-portrait over it, for example - made me think of how interrelated science and autobiography and art is. So the first thing i asked the doctor when we walked in was who painted it. "Philip Rantzer," he said. "Ah yes," I said, "the guy with the bicycle carrying Tel Aviv." The doctor turns to google the name with bicycle in Hebrew and finds it. I am amazed that an exhibit I saw deven years ago is still fresh in my mind. But that's Rantzer. Once home I looked up his site here but it doesn't do him justice. I would bet he's due for a new exhibit soon - then we'll see.

Here's Tel Aviv on a Bicycle. Incredibly complex, humorous and tragic, autobiographical and universal.

July 25, 2009

My few recent visits to the Knesset have awakened in me an unwilling desire for architectural design. I don't want to think about it, but it comes back to me in unexpected moments - the fact that a building can inspire honesty and straightforwardness or deviousness and cunning. After endless twistings and turnings of the corridors we arrived at our destination in which we found a young man smoking. Isn't smoking forbidden, we asked. Well, he responded, it is forbidden in the knesset, but this room may be considered the offices of a member of parliament which therefore are private and not public. So if I stepped outside my office, I would get a fine, but in here it is a grey area. His response keeps ringing in my ears. And I keep thinking I'd build a building in which there were no labyrinths and no grey areas. A square building with two floors of 15 offices in each corridor and open meeting places in the middle. The ministries could have offices on another floor, but with the same principle of open access.

July 26, 2009

Suggestions are now being received as to how to spend our anniversary today. We kind of feel like we celebrate every day and there may be no way to outdo that. I'd go for a photo shoot of Tel Aviv - ending with the bats at night in our neighborhood. Maybe I'll just put the ones I have online - a Haredi on rollerskates, two horses escaping on the the ayalon freeway (against the traffic), a flock of sheep going down our street.... Where will i find them all? But if you have any ideas, let me know.

July 26, 2009

Have you sign the protest against the boycott of Israel Scholars yet? click here

July 27, 2009

A guest from abroad - a woman my age - how how how do i keep her cool and happy on a boiling afternoon? Lunch, souvenir shopping and then a new outfit at Comme-il-faut. After a light but not inexpensive lunch, we went to Leiyla and she bought a t shirt that says in Hebrew "Thank God I was created woman" (i bought them last year for my daughters and daughter in law - it's a variation on the morning prayer, "Thank God I was not created a woman"), and then at the clothes part she got another one that says "Utopia" in Arabic and Hebrew. While the saleswoman was explaining to my friend that it is important that the shirts are in both languages so that we may learn to speak each other's languages, I also bought some tees at the shop, flowered sleeveless numbers that I had no business even trying on, but made me feel incredibly hip. The politically correct shirts just didn't do anything for me.

Am i not interested in co-existence? Yes, and I will do whatever I can every chance I can get. But I don't think I can wear that shirt.

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