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a series of digital prints, 116x170 

The expression "targeted killing" has taken root in Hebrew over the past decade. It denotes the execution of a person suspected of or wanted for terrorist activity or for his affiliation with a terrorist organization without any legal procedure or investigation. The suspects are executed by fire from the ground, from manned or unmanned aircraft, or by means of bombs planted in their homes or cars. Sometimes, a misidentification occurs, rendering the killing not-so-targeted, and often there is what the army terms "collateral damage"—fatalities and injuries in the suspect’s immediate vicinity and damage to unrelated property.

In his new series, Miki Kratsman, who has been documenting life in the occupied Palestinian territories for more than two decades, assumes the role of "targeter": the one who identifies the suspect, follows him, and pulls the trigger—this time, the camera’s trigger. The entire series was shot from Jerusalem’s Mt. Scopus using the same kind of lens that is installed in unmanned aircraft. The suspects—imaginary in this case—appear absorbed in mundane activity, not suspecting that they are being tailed, that something is about to happen to them. Kratsman "imitates" the strategy of suspicion and the framing of the victim-target, as elaborated by the IDF’s spokesmen via images presented to the press and the public, linking it to hunting and to electronic surveillance practices. The paranoid aesthetics have the effect of framing every subject as a suspect, implying that the pressing of the shutter release or the trigger is suitable punishment.

 

inject print 89X73

Like any state involved in violent conflicts with near and distant parties, Israel has relied, relies, and will continue to rely on a secret pool of so-called “human intelligence,” otherwise known as spies. A romantic, heroic aura verging on the mythological has evolved around this mysterious world of shadows. Since countries are reluctant to volunteer information about such matters (and when they do, the information is partial and distorted), even when these heroes, the spies, are uncovered, the real story of what happened in enemy territory remains forever in the twilight zone that stretches between truth and fiction, a world of images and imagination, pretense, posturing, and masquerades. 

Israel’s most legendary espionage hero is Eli Cohen, “Our Man in Damascus,” who operated in Syria for nearly four years before being exposed in January, 1965, and promptly executed in the city square despite many protests and appeals. According to then Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, “Cohen’s activities saved the lives of many of our troops, and the intelligence he brought before the Six-Day War proved invaluable, leading to our grand victory in that war.” Cohen thus symbolizes Israel’s last pre-1967 moment. Artist Ido Michaeli, whose work deconstructs and recreates the Israeli myth and ethos, steps into the shoes of one of Israel’s greatest heroes, albeit in Holon instead of Damascus.

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 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

Agent A
 
 
a series of digital prints, 116x170 

The expression "targeted killing" has taken root in Hebrew over the past decade. It denotes the execution of a person suspected of or wanted for terrorist activity or for his affiliation with a terrorist organization without any legal procedure or investigation. The suspects are executed by fire from the ground, from manned or unmanned aircraft, or by means of bombs planted in their homes or cars. Sometimes, a misidentification occurs, rendering the killing not-so-targeted, and often there is what the army terms "collateral damage"—fatalities and injuries in the suspect’s immediate vicinity and damage to unrelated property.

In his new series, Miki Kratsman, who has been documenting life in the occupied Palestinian territories for more than two decades, assumes the role of "targeter": the one who identifies the suspect, follows him, and pulls the trigger—this time, the camera’s trigger. The entire series was shot from Jerusalem’s Mt. Scopus using the same kind of lens that is installed in unmanned aircraft. The suspects—imaginary in this case—appear absorbed in mundane activity, not suspecting that they are being tailed, that something is about to happen to them. Kratsman "imitates" the strategy of suspicion and the framing of the victim-target, as elaborated by the IDF’s spokesmen via images presented to the press and the public, linking it to hunting and to electronic surveillance practices. The paranoid aesthetics have the effect of framing every subject as a suspect, implying that the pressing of the shutter release or the trigger is suitable punishment.

 

inject print 89X73

Like any state involved in violent conflicts with near and distant parties, Israel has relied, relies, and will continue to rely on a secret pool of so-called “human intelligence,” otherwise known as spies. A romantic, heroic aura verging on the mythological has evolved around this mysterious world of shadows. Since countries are reluctant to volunteer information about such matters (and when they do, the information is partial and distorted), even when these heroes, the spies, are uncovered, the real story of what happened in enemy territory remains forever in the twilight zone that stretches between truth and fiction, a world of images and imagination, pretense, posturing, and masquerades. 

Israel’s most legendary espionage hero is Eli Cohen, “Our Man in Damascus,” who operated in Syria for nearly four years before being exposed in January, 1965, and promptly executed in the city square despite many protests and appeals. According to then Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, “Cohen’s activities saved the lives of many of our troops, and the intelligence he brought before the Six-Day War proved invaluable, leading to our grand victory in that war.” Cohen thus symbolizes Israel’s last pre-1967 moment. Artist Ido Michaeli, whose work deconstructs and recreates the Israeli myth and ethos, steps into the shoes of one of Israel’s greatest heroes, albeit in Holon instead of Damascus.

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

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