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Out of Context
2017
HD Video, 5:00 min.

In this video work, a buzuq player named Jeris Murkus Ballan (who is also an archaeologist, musician, and composer) sits in the center of a warehouse the Israel Museum that houses part of the Dayan Collection, which was purchased in 1982 by the museum from the widow of the famous Israeli general, Moshe Dayan, Rachel, in order to keep the objects together in Israel. The Dayan Collection was assembled not out of archeological-scientific motives, but out of whim and passion, enabled by Dayan's political power. Over the years, Dayan became the greatest symbol in Israeli culture for an antique robber. The political and ethical questions raised by the collection (both because of the places where the antiquities were collected and his irregular excavation techniques) are many and loaded, even as the collection is stored in the quiet and neutral space of the museum. In the video work, Ballan plays a composition that he wrote for the buzuq (an Eastern musical instrument). However, contrary to the normal way of playing the instrument, Ballan plays the bouzouk with a bow (generally associated with Western instruments). His piercing music breaks the silence of the storeroom by playing simultaneously for the objects and in their name, as if symbolizing the contradiction they embody.

Co-Creator and Buzuq Player: Jeries Murkus Ballan
Filming and Editing: Amir Ronen
Music Processing and Editing: Adam Maor
Special Thanks: Israel Museum, Jerusalem and Nurith Goshen, Curator of Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Archaeology, Israel Museum, Jerusalem