Melt Away Before You
"I Can’t Believe It’s Not Battle!"
LAXART | Los Angeles, CA | Feb 2018 - 13 May 2018
2018 | Mojave Desert, California
Multi-Channel Video Installation
Curator : Hamza Walker
The multi-channel video installation Melt away revolves around the site of Fort Irwin National Training Center, a major training area for the United States Military located in the Mojave Desert.
As a training center, Fort Irwin is a simulation of another place—a Middle Eastern town—that becomes Pereg's subject of an investigation into the nature of authenticity, fiction, and the theater of war.
The exhibition's title is a quote from The Book of Joshua 2:9, referring to a military tactic employed by Joshua's son, who sent spies to “Go, look over the land, especially Jericho.” before entering into war to conquer the land. His spies went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there, forcing Rahab to spy on her own people in return for her protection.
Pereg's position both as a woman and an artist /spy dealing with a military tactic employed on the Mojave army base of simulating the perspective of the enemy, brought her to use the words of Rahab, returning from her mission of spying “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you."
Rahab cooperated in order to save her family, and Jericho was conquered by Joshua.
The work was shot with the approval and supervision of the USA army and was filmed during a 4 day staged training exercise in a makeshift simulation of a Jericho Middle Eastern bazaar street. Accordingly, the exhibition takes on the rhetorics of a play, re-staging a staged event in the exhibition space at the gallery space of LAXART, turning the viewers into participants, and players in a multi-event performance.
Reinforcing Rehab's role, Pereg's Iraqi origin led her to focus her documentary practice on the role of the Iraqi extras simulating "authenticity", and juxtaposing their "acting tactics and training with that of the army troops, preparing for real battle conditions.
In fact, one of the key works in the show, the video diptych "Truth or dare" tells us of Pereg's position by juxtaposing found footage of USA army patrols in Iraq's street with the staged drill on site, blurring the boundaries between “real’” and “staged” events by underscoring the military’s reliance on simulated warfare.
Pereg's solo exhibition at LAXART premiers the second part of Pereg’s “Redemption” trilogy, a body of work that deals with the heritage of ideology and its religious, political, and economic representations.
The first part was exhibited in 2017 with the work This Red Red Stuff.
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Editing: Nira Pereg | Filming: Ziv Berkovich Sound design : Nati Zeidenstadt
Karaoke: Dganit Elyakim | Post: Tal Korjak Exhibition design: Hanan Belisha
2018 | TRUTH OR DARE | Video diptych - 2 rooms synchronized screening | 10 MIN 48 sec.loop >
Edition of 7+2AP
The video diptych TRUTH OR DARE confronts scenes from found footage of American soldiers patrolling the streets of Baghdad ("Golf War" 1990), with American soldiers training to patrol a makeshift market street,
a simulated Iraqi street in Fort Irwin National Training Center- a major training area for the United States Military located in the Mojave Desert. The work turns our attention to the ways real or fake environments affect bodily unintentional choreography. The synchronized channels are named TRUTH for the training video (on the left) and DARE for the real-found footage, pointing to the relation between intention and outcome.
2018 | NATIVES | 07 MIN 41 sec.loop > Edition of 7+2AP
Due to the size of the Army base at fort Irwin, it also functions as a protected natural reserve. As such, although the training involves the use of heavy artillery the Army based is committed to the safe preservation of its wild The video NATIVES follows the “invasion” of locally born wild boars to the living quarters of the base.
2018 | STAGED | 4 video channels synchronized | 20 min 41 Min.loop > Edition of 7+2AP
The work STAGED is a choreographed portrayal of the army's "drill show" of a staged raid, at the Fort Irwin National Training Center in the Mojave Desert, California. The drill is aimed to demonstrate the army's abilities to control an acute war situation with casualties.
Resembling a Brechtian play, the work is divided into 6 acts, which appear consecutively on an apparatus of 4 video channels, running simultaneously on four monitors.
The "play" is made of documentary footage and based loosely on the six-phase “Raid” scripts read by the commander in front of the artist's camera.
The work is installed on a custom Ziggurat-like construction, set in the center of the gallery.