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Yael Bartana

Doctoral student

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Shades of Ambiguity

The core question of my thesis is the role of ambiguity in my work.

 Confronting the discourse on the effect of trauma on contemporary politics, I began to sense that there are limits to the political discourse in which I was hemmed in. I felt that I needed a new strategy to help me explore the subject or talk about it in a different way. That feeling led me to create ambiguity and ambiguities in the images and films I developed and the voice that I wanted to articulate. This was a way to move away from the imprisoning, predictable and very limiting discourse of knowing the answers and knowing the questions.

Through looking into my projects - The Polish Trilogy (2007-2011) and Light to the Nations (2023) - as case studies, I ask whether ambiguity as a method can tackle nationalism, bigotry, extremist tendencies and the construct of national consciousness?

How does ambiguity challenge the Status quo in Israel -Palestine that entrench and fortify the position of the side that benefits from it?  

I use ambiguity as a tool to dive deeper into highlighting the problem of nationalism as Ideology; as a force that gives a sense of community; a sense of belonging, but also as a system of inclusion and exclusion. Shades of Ambiguity can be identified through such modes of irony; satire; temporality; spacing; transgression of symbols; utopian visions; queering; and the separation of form from ideology.

UKÄ subject classification

  • Visual Arts


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