Sing me a Song and Tell me Your Story
Galit Eilat
Works in the Archive
Sing Me Your Song and Tell Me Your Story
Sing me a Song and Tell me Your Story is the fruit of the collaboration between Dana Levy (Israel) and Mark Lafia (USA). Mark and Dana met for the first time on a program featuring guest artists. The product of this encounter was a proposal for a project they submitted to the Israeli Center for Digital Art. The project addresses the topic of wandering, one of the more meaningful ramifications of technological advance. The project will first be presented in Israel before it is featured in other exhibition halls worldwide. The project - just like the phenomenon it addresses - will wander from one exhibition hall to the next, whereby each display will adhere to the same laws as its predecessor, namely an encounter of a foreign artist with a local one and a request of those they call upon to sing a song and tell their story. Songs are sometimes passed on for many years - be it from home or from regions of the past whose origins are long gone. These are songs of exile which exude love of the land and perpetuate a long tradition of songs of yearning. This singing stems from different places and dimensions and carries forth a lineage of decades, centuries and millennia. Just like traditional food and clothing, popular songs tell us from whence they have come.

Dana Levy and Mark Lafia attempt to dialogue with those places that transcend time and geographical location through video photography as well as street encounters with different people living in Israel in 2002, who converged in Israel for different reasons and as a result of different choices. Through the songs and stories bared in front of the camera, Dana and Mark try to investigate and relate to the problems and questions which are part and parcel of migrating from ones country of origin for reasons of economy or ideology or out of a sense of adventure. Together with the subjects of their photography, they probe the meaning of country, home, the notion of being and adapting, and the concept of place.

The project participants sing in front of the camera, often falteringly, and tell their private, personal story, which motivated them to leave their country of origin.

A video software program was specifically tailored to Mark and Danas work. It features a video database built on an algorithmic video system, which determines the esthetic structures and transitions behind the sound and video materials in the exhibition hall, by searching for and identifying the visual or vocal connections. This program will also serve the next artists to be invited by Mark and Dana to continue to investigate and photograph other places. In order to compose this unique video tool, Dana and Mark joined forces with one of todays most prominent composer-programmers, Didi Fire, who adapts know-how and programming geared for sound composition to video composition.

The exhibit spreads across three exhibition halls in which visitors will be able to listen to and watch songs presented to the camera, have an impact on the video watching, record themselves singing and add their songs to the database for the next spectators as well as watch the documentary material.

Mark Lafia lives in the US, teaches at Stanford University, exhibits net art, video and digital media art and has won a significant number of prizes for his work. He is invited to exhibit his work all over the world.

Dana Levy returned to Israel four years ago following art studies in England and she is an active artist in Israel and in Europe.