Irit Garty & Isaac Layish






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Tel:020 8202 6274
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Practice statement
Irit Garty & Isaac Layish


The starting point for our films is research-based, creating a narrative form corresponding to historical or real events, such as news reports or the histories of architectonic and urban environments, and relating to wider national identities and social realities.

Using an array of visual techniques, from computer animation to a first person narrative printed on the screen, the outcome is always a composite created from documentary and fiction. While researching, the “facts” that capture our attention the most are the “unreal” or untrue ones; The rumors, second and third hand stories - twisted and reinvented to suit myths, presumptions and exaggerations of reality. As narrators we use this as a tool and at times choose to exaggerate reality ourselves; fill the gaps in the documentary, “first hand”, stories we tell with fiction and rumors that we have heard, and larger narratives that have been processed via a personal screen.

In our films there is a constant battle between facts and fiction. We use the form of documentary and presentation of testimonies, which would “prove” the viewer with the truth of the stories and at the same time make him question what he is being told.

We are interested in how urban and architectural environments, including the space created electronically by the media (i.e. television and the internet), reflect social and political identities and tell stories about the myths and values people create around these environments – from national identity and pride, notion of family and un-homeliness to racism violence and paranoia


Recent work statement

“The S.S. Shalom”.(2003)
In 1962 a film called “The Birth of Shalom” was made in the French shipyard of Chantier de l‘Atlantique at St. Nazaire , documenting the construction of the “S.S. Shalom”, flagship of ZIM, Israel’s national shipping company.
It was to be the first of two films dedicated to the “Shalom”, a world-peace themed cruise liner designed by Israeli Architects and interior designers Dora Gad, Arie Noy and Professor Al Mansfeld.
The ship, until recent years relatively unknown in the Israeli public psyche, was fitted with the finest furnishings of its time, and conceived as an integrated work of total design, art and architecture. Furniture by Eames and Jacobsen were on board beside art works commissioned, among others, from American artist Ben Shahn and Israelis Danny Caravan and Ya’acov Agam.
The second film was planned to focus on the interior design, the ship’s decor and it’s maiden voyage, but this film was never made.
This is the starting point of the film “The S.S. Shalom”.
The film is constructed of Found materials such as the original brochures from the ship, text from a governmental report, commissioned in 1966 to look into problems occurring on the ship, and newspapers articles.

“Barrier” (2002) is comprised of two narratives running parallel and telling the story of the “only” encounter the narrators have had with a Palestinian. These are quasi-autobiographical texts, told in the first person in a journalistic fashion, focusing on two violent events. They implicate the writers and describe the psychological effects of an almost mundane racism and everyday form of conflict and confrontation. The visuals set out to enhance this sense of “Barrier” or separation and complicate it by incorporating surveillance type shots and images of Palestinians photographed through peepholes, setting up a view from an uncomfortable distance.

At the centre of "Tower" (2002) is a modernist high rise that was built in the late sixties in Tel Aviv, Israel. The "Shalom" tower was for 22 years the highest building in the Middle East and served as a monument for national pride as well as being a recreational centre.
Today the building is, for the most part, deserted, and all it's attractions have closed.
Stills and panning shots of the building serve as a backdrop for the narration of stories. Some of these are personal, while others have their origins in the media or overheard rumors (mainly with the themes of technological, cultural and national obsolescence).
The stories are read out by a mechanical alter ego - the storyteller's computer, that through his role as narrator, tries to assess his own cultural identity and that of the "original" storytellers, which are trying to deal with death, memory and a physical distance from their country.

"Come back home" (2001) was created solely from appropriated commercials, news footage and election propaganda. The video reflects on the underlying psyche of Israeli commercials and election campaigns; the excesses in the representations of family and homeliness, national identity and pride.