Light, Skin

HD video, 15′ min, Hebrew with English subtitles. Full version

The film was made with the participation of Dr. Menachem Goren, Tel Aviv University, School of Zoology and The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History. 2016/17

Named after the developer of the Suez Canal, Ferdinand de Lesseps, the Lessepsian migration refers to the migration of species from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. This migration has had, and continues to have, a huge impact on the local ecology, engendering local and endemic species. Once considered a wonder of the industrial revolution, connecting east and west, the effects of the Suez Canal, are seen from a distance of almost 150 years, and from a very different political climate with the fish acting as a metaphor for human migrants.
The film juxtaposes the scientific classification process and the artistic process, and both refer in various ways to the Biometric identifiers used in the USA and elsewhere. The fish skin is treated like human fingerprints, and the installation focuses on the fish skin as an organic body transformed into a processed material via the production of three image types: 19th Japanese Gyotaku prints, in which ink is placed on the fish which is then rubbed on rice paper; photography, 35mm slides in which processed fish skin acts as film; and digital video. These processes correspond to the migration timeline and the development of image making techniques.

Irit Tal