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Film Review

Yannun Yannun

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Grunewald, Weichselbaum, Finkelstein & Ziolkowsky
Yannun Yannun
Fact Records
2005

The current bloody conflict between the occupying Israelis and the occupied Palestinians has not produced much of an artistic commentary about the violent deadlock that both societies, Israeli as Palestinian, are trapped into. Yannun Yannun is a unique artistic statement—audio and visual improvisation—that references one of the disgraceful aspects of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. Yannun is a Palestinian village near Nablus that was deserted by its villagers after repeated violent harassments by the hateful right-wing Israeli settlers. Only after Israeli peace activists and international activists and NGO's began to visit Yannun, some of the deserted Palestinian families returned to their homes.

Grunewald (aka Eran Sachs) on no-input-analogue-mixing-board, Weichselbaum (aka Niv Hachlili) on live video editing, Finkelstein (aka Avid Albert) on digital mixer and Ziolkowsky (aka Ariel Efron) on studio video editing, all using their grandmothers' Diaspora names, were inspired by the film Jenin Jenin by Israeli-Palestinian actor and director Mohamed Bakri. That film portrays Jenin refugee camp and the city Jenin aqfter the Israeli army incursion and from the Palestinian angle. Yannun Yannun is an edited version of a project that was premiered in the Khan theater in West Jerusalem.

Sachs, a regular player in the Israeli versions of John Zorn's game-piece Cobra, and Albert, half of the electronic duo TaaPet, produced minimalist, improvised soundscaped, that were manipulated and processed live through their digital mixers, creating industrial rhythm patterns, noisy tone structures, and all by feeding the silent channels of the mixers back into themselves, thus creating a feedback system. This free electronic improv is very close to the soundscapes that Japanese sound scientist Otomo Yoshihide is producing in his releases on the experimental Erstwhile Records label or to the electro-acoustic improvisations of Swiss percussion and sound manipulator Gunter Muller's For 4 Ears label.

The video disc (using a freeware DivX media player) depicts a similar incident of Israeli settlers harassment to Palestinian villagers in other part of the occupied West Bank, south Hebron, and the journey of Israeli peace activists who are trying to document these violent attacks. Hachlili and Efron are improvising on the loose narrative-based structure with visual footage that were taken by the peace activists, and focusing on the image of a fanatic Jewish settler who uses his weapon to intimidate the local Palestinian population. Sachs and Albert are supplying the depressing audio ambience to these disturbing footage.

The creators of this project termed their artistic attitude as "Dead News", meaning that these kind of incidents are below the exhausted radars of the Israeli and International media. The importance of such a project, beyond being one of first works that relates to the vicious aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is by trying to create a musical and visual comment that echoes this nightmarish reality and at the same time not trying to present that disturbing reality in an easy-to-digest aesthetic tools. This work is calling you to protest and act.

Personnel
Analogue mixer = Grunewald (Eran Sachs)
Digital mixer = Finkelstein (Aviad Albert)
Live video editing = Weichselbaum (Niv Hachlili)
Studio video editing = Ziolkowsky (Ariel Efron)

Visit Fact Records on the web.


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