Safe and Sound was first presented as a solo show at Künstlehrhaus Bethanien, Berlin, and later at Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel, curated by Aya Lurie, both in 2014.
“[..] In the show, Rodeh highlights the trialectical manipulation of space, sound, and light, as seen from the other side of the clubbing culture. Clubbing has never been so regulated and approved by authorities as it is today. In its original form, it is an act of defiance. An act of battling oversight. Since the original Berlin ballrooms, through rave parties, through the darkened cellars of Techno. The clubbing experience of opposition and freedom, of release, is only complete when the darkness transforms to the blindness of daylight.“ —Gilly Karjevsky
Photoluminescence vinyl, fluorescent lights, strobe lights, reflective fabric, yellow fluorescent vinyl, PVC, sound system; Dimensions variable
Original music: Rødhåd (Künstlerhaus Bethanien), Dj OneFinger (Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art)
Documentation: David Brandt, Sam Smith (Künstlerhaus Bethanien), Shaxaf Haber (Herzliya Museum).
PREVIEW FILEPREVIEW FILE (Documentation)
The shows were made possible with the support of Artis, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Herzliya Museums friends.
Full text by Gilly Karjevsky:
A little-discussed fact about Berlin is how under-lit it's streets are. Nighttime Berlin is dark and quiet. Walking in the residential streets of Kreuzberg, one has to practically glow in the dark to be seen. And so the streets of Berlin in 2014 are dominated by high visibility wear for bikers and children, even for pets, by shining gas stations, by led light signage.
The ever increasing usage of reflective and fluorescent products for visibility, high visibility, safety, and security is producing as well as regulating the performance of light and color in the city. Outside and inside, different modes of light and lighting are being used to organize our direction and our attention. But, at the same time that these materials provide us with exposure to make us feel secure, they provide a clear gaze over us. Light and lighting are the aides of surveillance and of state-controlled security systems.
The idea of high visibility workwear is the same idea articulated through fire regulation and building code. This set of rules, embodied by a set of material props designed for architecture and the human body, are a response to the imagined (or past) worst-case scenario and they exercise their high visibility in order to keep one safe. These scenarios are performed by the accessories designed to prevent them—the reflective gear, the fluorescent exit sign, the emergency door handle, the security camera—they all imagine future horrors and remind us of past disasters.
Alona Rodeh chooses to work with performative materials such as reflective fabric and glow-in-the-dark adhesive plastic. Her works, mostly referred to as performances with no performers, reflect current phenomena in visual as well as material culture. Rodeh's works are performances of visibility and invisibility in which materials are used to capture light and reflect the gaze, sending it back and away, as a form of choreographed resistance.
This resistance comes not as a critical disengagement, not as an opposition to the ordained regulations, but as a deconstruction of the relationship of light and darkness, both physical and cultural. Rodeh's work has deep roots in the clubs of counter culture and the vandal tendencies of the youth, where darkness allows for another kind of safety. Where sound is the mechanism for manipulation and dominance, rather than sight.
In the show, "Safe and Sound", Rodeh highlights the trialectical manipulation of space, sound, and light, as seen from the other side of the clubbing culture. Clubbing has never been so regulated and approved by authorities as it is today. In its original form, it is an act of defiance. An act of battling oversight. Since the original Berlin ballrooms, through rave parties, through the darkened cellars of Techno. The clubbing experience of opposition and freedom, of release, is only complete when the darkness transforms into the blindness of daylight.
Rodeh stages an anti-climactic moment, where one side of the equation has come to completely dominate the other. A postlude to a relationship devoid of its original essence. All you're left with now is fluorescence.