Effi & Amir
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Tips and Tricks (Reconstruction)

An important part of the construction of national Zionist identity was the negation of diasporic Jewish existence, and the formation of a new Jewish archetype. The diasporic Jewish stereotype was characterized by antisemitic traits, which served the state’s patronizing attitude towards Jews, and their illegitimate status in the eyes of the establishment. The most obvious of these traits is the Jewish nose, the physical hallmark distinguishing the “Jew” from the “non-Jew.” In this video, the noses of artist duo Effi and Amir, Israelis living and working in Europe, are being gradually transformed before our eyes so as to give them a “Jewish look,” taking the antisemitic trait to an extreme in an attempt to construct a lost identity of “otherness.” This is not a genetic matter, but one of an identity that is being constructed in a continuous process of willful choices.

At the same time, short monologues of young Jews from Brussels can be heard in the background. These voices suggest a different Jewish existence: one that is not based on the feelings of shame that accompany the denial of the diaspora. Instead they affirm the diaspora, and the moral standing that accompanies the yearning to be a minority, to always side with the “other.” The alternative they propose is not one of galut (Hebrew for diaspora)—which is an expression that contains an idea of center—but rather a de-territorialized existence. For generations, Jewish society desired to return to the center-stage of history. Yet the power of this yearning stemmed from being unattainable, imagined—a utopia. The realization of a renewed center cancelled this uniting sense of yearning. Can such unity exist only when the center is absent?