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Performing Participation

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Presentation given at the Association for Israeli Studies Annual Meeting, June, 3, 2009, Be'er Sheva, Israel

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Performing Participation

  1. 1. Performing Participation/Protest: The Semiotics of National Identity and Commemorative Rituals in a Heritage Site in Jerusalem Chaim Noy Sapir College
  2. 2. Stags of performance <ul><li>Conceptualizing the visitor book as a social site: a public stage where actors’ actions are recorded and performed </li></ul><ul><li>Recording public acts of presence and participation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>These are embodied and situated acts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A view that searches beyond content/theme, into ritualistic actions of inscriptions </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Ammunition Hill National Memorial Site, Jerusalem <ul><li>Complex Commemorating ‘67 Battle & War </li></ul><ul><li>Inaugurated 1975 on the historic battlegrounds: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Approx. 25,000-50,000 vis. per year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organized groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intel. tourist/local sightseers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exclusively Jewish </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Highly Ideological: Zionist Militaristic Nationalism </li></ul><ul><li>Heritage tourism/museum studies </li></ul>
  4. 4. Contested spaces <ul><li>Ideologically framed and charges spaces (metonymically interlinked): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Israel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jerusalem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AHNMS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Museum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visitor Book </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Visitors arrive at and visit multiple spaces </li></ul><ul><li>“ Documents are composed in and of particular places” (Laurier & Whyte) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Sights
  6. 6. The visitor book VB on Pedestal VB Hall & Installation
  7. 7. The Book’s possibilities <ul><li>Technologies of inscribing/possibilities of participation </li></ul><ul><li>Spatiality: Openspace </li></ul>VB on Pedestal <ul><li>100 pages / 1 year </li></ul><ul><li>1,300 entries </li></ul><ul><li>30% read / 3% inscribe </li></ul>
  8. 10. Diaspora and Israel 9.8.05 The visit taught us of the difficult battles and of the high and dear cost we paid in blood so that today we would be able to stroll and live in Jerusalem quietly and freely. It was very moving. [The] Shaked Family.
  9. 11. Basa&quot;d [With God’s Help] To all the soldiers who willingly gave their lives for us, I want to express all my gratitude & emotions. Without you, we wouldn’t be standing here today. Thank you so much, on my behalf & on all of the Medinat Yisrael behalf for everything you have done for us. Sincerely, Omry Naftali, PA
  10. 12. Center – Periphery – Zionist ethos <ul><li>Ultra-orthodox Jews from near-by Jerusalem neighborhoods </li></ul><ul><li>Visitors from peripheral towns and settlements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bitton, Tiberias </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Azulai, Beit-She’an </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Levi, Yavne </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Malka, Neve-Ya’akov </li></ul></ul>
  11. 13. Ethnicity Peripherialized
  12. 14. <ul><li>Golani Respect!!! </li></ul><ul><li>All the paratroopers shall die!! </li></ul><ul><li>I was here </li></ul>
  13. 15. <ul><li>August, 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>זה לא כוח שלנו </li></ul><ul><li>אלא מה ' </li></ul><ul><li>ישתבח שמו לעד </li></ul><ul><li>גוש קטיף </li></ul><ul><li>(undated) </li></ul><ul><li>עם תום הגירוש של יהודים מגוש קטיף </li></ul><ul><li>צריך לבנות מוזיאון </li></ul><ul><li>יד ושם </li></ul><ul><li>לזכר חבל ארץ </li></ul><ul><li>שנגדע נחרב ונעלם </li></ul><ul><li>בידי רשעים ארורים </li></ul><ul><li>בלי לב בלי חמלה </li></ul>
  14. 16. Conclusions <ul><li>The ontology of performance concerns presence and presencing; </li></ul><ul><li>So we may ask who is/are absent from the pages/stages of commemoration? </li></ul><ul><li>Palestinians (who live near-by), and </li></ul>
  15. 17. <ul><li>2. The Achusalim (Kimmerling) or Ashkenazi Elite: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Ashkenazi Sabra embodied the ideals of being Israeli (Israeliness). They are missing from the book (in terms of signatures), but are embodied in the artifact of the respected and “mamlachti” book itself. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 18. <ul><li> Thank you </li></ul><ul><li>Chaim Noy </li></ul><ul><li>June, 3 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Jerusalem </li></ul>

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