detroit Amir Yatziv

Single-channel video 13’00”, c-prints on Fine Art InkJet Paper. Courtesy of the Artist and Laveronica Arte Contemporanea. Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn.

In this installation, a short video and a series of prints reveal a strange and distant urban structure devoid of flowering gardens and empty of any inhabitants. Its houses contain no books or any other sign of life. This is actually a 1:1 simulation of a Palestinian or Arab town, established in the Negev desert in order to prepare soldiers for combat in urban areas. Besides its condensed architecture, the town includes some mosques which make it resemble refugee camps or Muslim quarters. It thus meets its users’ needs in a simulation that would furnish them with a fantasy of an Arab city. The simulation generates an alternative reality that conceals the true reality.

At that time when the work was made, the facility was still unknown and didn’t appear on navigation software due to high military secrecy. In the video, Yatziv presents the "Detroit" map to some Palestinian urban planners who aren’t aware of its existence or that it was a military training area. Accordingly, they speculatively analyze the influence of the city’s structure on its imaginary residents. This investigative work poses questions on the boundaries between fact and fiction and on the relationships between the military command industry and urban control.

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