Open  Closed  Open    פתוח  סגור  פתוח

In collaboration with Yair Kira and Amir Shpilman
Awarded the first DAGESH Art Prize, Jewish Museum Berlin 2019

פתוח סגור פתוח. לפני שאדם נולד"
הכל פתוח ביקום בלעדיו. כשהוא חי הכל סגור

.בו בחייו. וכשהוא מת הכל שוב פתוח

.פתוח סגור פתוח. זה כל האדם

"Open closed open. Before we are born, everything is open

in the universe without us. For as long as we live, everything is closed

within us. And when we die, everything is open again.

Open closed open. That’s all we are."

*Yehuda Amichai’s “I Wasn’t One of the Six Million: And What Is My Life Span? Open Closed Open” was published in a collection of his poems titled Open, Closed, Open (1998).

“Open Closed Open” is a multimedia installation that explores a multitude of perceptual positions realized as a result of the continual movement of organic materials. Sand, light and human voice are shaped by a layer of technological interventions that impose varying degrees of control and predetermined roles upon both themselves and the resulting response of the materials.

The title of the work is excerpted from a poem by Yehuda Amichai reflecting on the cycle of formation and deformation of individuals and groups in terms of their self-definition in general, and of the Jewish identity in particular. The Hebrew language appears in the mediums of writing and sound in both permanent and temporary manners, fragmented into individual letters or assembled into words — writing and rewriting themselves in space. 


Each individual who enters into the exhibition space contributes to the work’s evolution. Emerging from a room comprising audio and visual components, visitors find themselves in the midst of a large sandbox where a robot continuously reforms the terrain while driving over and writing Hebrew letters in the sand. Custom-made tools are scattered around the sandbox, which the visitors are invited to use to reform and flatten the terrain, preparing further surfaces for the robot’s calligraphic activities. Hundreds audio recordings of vocalized Hebrew letters comprise the generative and electronically shaped soundtrack. Each vocal fragment has been composed individually, yet these gestural materials converge in continuously varying densities, forming a rich, ever-changing soundscape projected over 10 speakers in the space. Depending on their movement, visitors may hear a single whispering voice or an assemblage of vocal gestures. A live visualization of visitors’ movements inside the sandbox is projected on a large, transparent screen hung at the back of the space. This animated representation reflects the movement and interactions in the exhibition and, along with the robotic and audio components, offers a stylized perspective on the social relations occurring between individuals and within groups.


This work was created with the support, input and contributions of several individuals and institutions. The artists would kindly like to acknowledge the following:

Robot: Technical Support, Programming and Design: So Kanno, Naoto Hiede and Ahmad Taleb.

Singers: Cornelius Uhle (baritone), Galil Jamal (bass-baritone), Bojan Heyn (bass)
Sound Programming and artistic consultation: João Pais
Loudspeaker Design: Andreas Kakogiannis
Motion-Tracking and Visualization: EyesWeb Projekt by Casa Paganini | InfoMus, Vertigo STARTS
Audio recording: Studio für Elektronische Musik | Hochschule für Musik Dresden

For financial and technical support we are grateful to ELES Studienwerk, the Jewish Museum Berlin, Freundeskreis des Jüdisches Museums Berlin, Center of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Social Integration” at the University of Konstanz, Makeblock Europe B.V., Solectric GmbH, and Ensemble Mosaik Berlin