Performance and video project portray dancer’s interpretation of West Bank conflict

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In 2013, the dancer and choreographer Arkadi Zaides requested access to the video archives of B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Among other items, the archives contain thousands of hours of footage by Palestinian volunteers from the organization’s “Camera Project.” Zaides chose to focus on the Israelis depicted onscreen, on their bodies and the way they respond to various situations in the West Bank. The results of his confrontation with these materials are presented in two works: “Capture Practice,” a video installation, and “Archive,” a stage performance. Zaides will present both these works at Yale in March.

In “Archive,” his latest work, Zaides appropriates gestures and voices to engage with these video materials and embody them, turning his body into a living “archive.” It was first performed at the Festival d’Avignon in July, 2014. The Yale performance will take place on Tuesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Off-Broadway Theater, 41 Broadway, and will be followed by a discussion with panelists, the artist, and the audience. Seating is limited.

“Although the materials filmed by the photographers reveal the local reality, I wish to discuss a broader, more universal question,” writes Zaides. “What is the potential for violence embedded in each individual body and what price does the collective pay for controlling the other?”

The related video installation “Capture Practice” will be on view at the Off-Broadway Theater Thursday-Saturday, March 5-7. It comprises two synchronized video channels broadcasting simultaneously in a loop on two walls of human height that create an intimate architectural space. On the right wall, Zaides is filmed within a closed and windowless studio, and on the left is a series of clips from the archives. Zaides, with his gaze fixed on the other screen, extracts the movements of the documented subjects, and through the medium of his body ties together the occurrences on both screens. “Capture Practice” will be open to the public on Thursday and Friday, 3-8 p.m., and on Saturday, noon-4 p.m.

The free performance and installation are presented by Yale Institute of Sacred Music with support from the Council on Middle East Studies, the Whitney and Betty Macmillan Center for International Studies; the Department of Theater Studies; the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale; the Office of the University Chaplain; the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights, Yale Law School; and the Program in Judaic Studies.

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