Submitted by: Yael Toren
Name of creation: Umbilical Cord
Music by: Amos Elkana – The Age of Anxiety
Medium: Animated line-drawing projected on small wooden cubes
A tormented fetus-like figure, hanging on its umbilical cord, is revealed while slowly unraveling from a tangle of barbed wire. The gentle, cradling, oscillating motion cannot soften the painful scene.
Projected on more than 4,000 small wooden cubes arranged in a heap reminiscent of ruins (see attached photograph).
The umbilical cord is naturally perceived as the basic connection to Mother. In this work, it carries an additional significance of "belonging" as an inalienable human right / The basic privilege of every human being, wherever he is, to be a member of the human community in the political-civic sense, regardless of political status, world views, profession, economic status, gender, or motherland (Hannah Arendt's "The Origins of Totalitarianism",1951).
The fetus as a symbol of complete innocence - the “innocent individual” / Man is "naturally" born “a slave”, or “free” and as such, is dependent on prejudices. Speaking of the “innocent individual” it is appropriate to mention Walter Benjamin’s "The Critique of Violence" (1921) that reproaches the law for forbidding violence by the individual, all the while allowing the State’s monopoly on what the law refers to as “legitimate violence” on behalf of the State. This is probably the core of the individual's struggle within the public/political domain.
The umbilical cord provides nourishment, but also signifies the fetus’ dependence on mother, a metaphor for man’s inherent paradoxical duality of sustenance/dependence on his environment, political regime, culture and society.
When one speaks about being Dependent – one does not only relate to the weak and the poor, rather – the intellectually enlightened yet vulnerable. Merging the issue of “the intellectually strong yet vulnerable” with the discourse of the public domain, leads one to Derida’s “ville de refuges” as an accessible refuge area, an alternative land for writers and intellectuals who were imperiled. (Strasbourg,1996)
Can Belonging (nourishment through the umbilical cord) coexist with Dependency (being hung by the cord) in a coercive totalitarian regime?
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