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The Performativity of the Witness and the Politics of Silence

Event Label
Lecture by Dani Gal
Organisational Units
Fine Arts, Art and Architecture
Location Address (1)
Schillerplatz 3
Location ZIP and/or City (1)
1010 Wien
Location Room (1)

Based on his recent film Three Works for Piano (2020, 34’ min) Gal’s lecture examines the roles of silence, silencing and listening in the politics of dominant national narratives. Gal questions how socially accepted violence is constructed and deconstructed through the performativity of the witness in Historical-Trauma studies and in post-Colonial and post-Holocaust discourses.

In his film Three Works for Piano Gal reconstructs three piano performances of the 20th century European avant-garde as allegories to contemplate the complex dynamics between the historical witness and society. The triangulation of performer-sound-audience is reflected in a recent real-life event, where a testimony of an Israeli soldier as a violent perpetrator in the occupied territories, was discredited and denied by the state. This negation of culpability sidelines the story from the real victims and exposes the soldier’s moral ambiguity.

CV: Dani Gal (1975, Jerusalem) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at Bezalel Academy for Art and Design in Jerusalem, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule in Frankfurt and in Cooper Union in New York. His films and installations have been shown at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), Istanbul Biennale (2011), New Museum New York (2012), Kunsthalle St. Gallen Switzerland (2013), The Jewish Museum New York (2014), Berlinale Forum Expanded (2014), Kunsthaus Zurich (2015) Kunsthalle Wien (2015), Documenta 14 (2017), Centre Pompidou (2018) and at Club TransMediale Festival Berlin (2020). In 2019 he was artist-in-residence with Blood Mountain. Projects and research fellows at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute.