Derived from an old parable, the term PARDES, meaning ‘orchard’ in Hebrew, has come to symbolize the realm of Jewish mysticism. In the legend entitled Four Entered the Orchard, four great sages who enter the esoteric practice meet different fates: one dies, one loses his mind, and one forsakes the Jewish tenets. Only one enters in peace and leaves in peace.
Developed by Toronto-based curator Liora Belford, PARDES brings together four Israeli sound and multi-media artists to investigate notions of mysticism, heresy and the occult from secular perspectives, as they relate to contemporary society. With new and recent works, they examine the mythological aspirations of military technologies, gender ideologies within ritual practices, the collapse of conventional social models, and the impact of marginalized voices on mainstream cultural traditions.
Drawing a parallel to the machine-like Ophanim angels, Nadav Assor examines the obscure undercurrents of drone development – ambitions of unbridled motion, omnipresent vision and remote-controlling power. Amnon Wolman explores gender in Judaism with a sound-embedded prayer shawl, while his sculptural audio book transcends language, lifting it to a different form of expression. Ira Eduardovna’s audio/visual piece juxtaposes chorus-sung reflections on the Apocalypse to a TV sitcom-inspired family scene – a comment on society’s decline and ideologies crumbling. Nevet Yitzhak’s audio/video installation processes archival recordings from the Israel Broadcasting Authority Arabic Orchestra (1948-1993), creating a new composition based on marginalized traditions.
Through a variety of media and artistic approaches, PARDES explores the myth of concealment and mystery that shrouds the path to spirituality, questions our search for heroic figures, and examines the individual’s need to relate to a collective intellectual realm.