Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good taste, bad taste

The old Turkish Ottoman railway station in Manshiyeh, Yaffo, that stood empty and neglected for decades has recently been beautifully restored as a venue for events and exhibitions. The trains that use to take passengers to Jerusalem and back are now just quaint props. They should have replaced by a fast train line to Jerusalem but this will have to wait for the coming of the messiah.

Meanwhile 'The Station' (hatachana) in its new guise is open for business, the first event being an art fair called 'Fresh Paint'.

Part of the floor of the main station has been turned into a sort of disco dance floor. with constantly changing designs.

The place was packed and so were the walls. My eyes now move instinctively towards the photographs.

The one below caught my attention. It''s an obviously staged photo of a young soldier showing off his new uniform, his mobile phone, his muscles and his aggressive dog to a group of younger admirers around a water tap. The scene could have been taken in any one of scores of development towns or poor neighbourhoods. The scene is an exercise in bad taste and a comment on the tendency of ordinary Israelis to worship the military and its accompanying status symbols. Click for details.

In the same spirit, this weekened's Ha'aretz magazine carries a story called 'Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009' revealing some of the stomach turning designs ordered by snipers for their T shirts. Something's happening to our society and it's not good. The reports from soldiers who served in the Gaza war of the killing of civilians, fits this depressing pattern. In a different vein, I loved this installation of hundreds of little plastic 'Keter' chairs, made actually of clay. The front rows contain the 'reserved' sign that divides the elite from the plebs and the whole scene triggers associations of too many public events.


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