Moran Shoub, Local testimony 2013 curator

 Like destruction a photograph is constant under all the coverings, waiting to be revisited. Viewing the photographs takes us back in time to the stories that remained open, like wounds, and to the ruins before they were buried. Time covers ruins, but severing it by a photograph exposes a vacuum and realities that remained unchanged and in ruins.

In the exhibition space walls surround us on all sides, walls, walls and no ceiling; what do you think the space resembles? A building site? The ruins of a demolished building? In poem 42 in Yehuda Amichai’s Cycle of Quatrains, the narrator asks to have his photograph taken against the backdrop of the ruins that remained after the war “Snap my photo in the dunes next to the broken tank/Snaps my photo against the backgrop of words already said/ Words that will never be uttered again/ Without hope like the fireworks’ glow…”The fireworks, promising for a moment and then extinguished, resemble a flash that lights up the scene of events, makes the moment of photography possible, and is then blown out. The photograph that immortalizes the time and space of destruction does not offer any future, but forever anticipates destruction.

 The 10th anniversary of Local Testimony and the thousands of years of this land’s existence attest to the fact that the war over a home, in the simple sense of the word, in the sense of an aspiration and the right to a place to live – wins all. It is not the right to a respectful life that wins, but rather war.

Look at the figures photographed against the background of damaged walls; look at the little girl raising her head toward the ceiling of her bombed home – the distress on the faces of the subjects in the photograph from last year or from fifteen or a hundred years ago - it does not become a routine matter if it is well expressed in the photograph; time will not blot out the pain of the little girl whose home was demolished. But her photograph, like a city covered in heaps of rubble that mark her past, may illustrate countless situations: destruction, war, terror. “The photograph is the greatest deceiver of culture,” wrote Adam Baruch; the photograph invites interpretations that deny the intention of the original (a photograph of family happiness may be termed the documentation of quiet horror). In other words, the photograph of the little girl against the background of her demolished home no longer represents a specific child but rather immortalizes the ruins, and therefore, because it does not represent but immortalizes - the method of winners and losers triumphs.

If only we could realize our right not to compete with one another, not to be calculating. Not to destroy. Not to argue.