The Mediterranean Biennale in Haifa, Israel. Curator: Belu Simion Fainaru, 2010
“Inertia”, the Artists’ Studios, Tel Aviv. Curator: Vered Gani, 2011
“Tweetakt/Kaap”, stage and media festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands “Stuttgarter, 2016
Meirav Heiman’s Digestion is a video work created in stop-motion technique where the plasma screen is propped horizontally, like a dining table. The viewers bend over from either side of the ‘table’ to witness a full three-course meal being consumed in fast-forward, with the cups, plates and serving bowls repeatedly emptied out during the work’s 1:10 minutes’ run time. But the diners themselves are absent, and so the viewers take the place of the four family members that would have been seated on either side. Likewise missing is the vibrant chatter that would have accompanied a family meal, leaving only the rattle of dishes, utensils and food that is swiftly unloaded unto plates to disappear in digestive systems.
The dishes we see are typical of an Israeli Friday evening meal, a weekly gathering of sacred status in Israeli society where one enjoys quality time with family members over a hearty meal. Devoid of any human presence and accelerated to a frenzied pace, the video produces the spectacle of mechanical ingestion bordering on mindless gluttony and decadence. It is, however, an absence that also resonates with two important themes in Israel society: that of Eliayhu Hanavi (the prophet Elijah), who according to custom honors the all-important Passover feast with his invisible presence; and no less, the abiding absence of war casualties from practically every family – those invariably referred to as the “sons” and the “fallen”.
Digestion is part of a larger video and installation project by the artist, where she takes on the theme of routine and cyclicality in everyday life. Through temporal distortions, Heiman brings out an existential dimension that hovers above everyday routines and arrangements, addressing these with the subtle humor and parody that characterizes her work at large.