56 X 56 - Benziman - 2

Translation / Interpretation / Caption Text

Curator's note:
Creating Independence Day posters is an annual tradition among Israeli artists going back to 1948.This Special Collection features posters created by accomplished professional artists as well as students and faculty for an exhibit sponsored by the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design located in Tel Aviv.
The theme “56 X 56” reflects the concept that 56 artists would create posters on the theme of Israel’s 56th Israel Independence Day in 2006. The 1998 exhibit was called ”50 X 50“ and the 2007 exhibit was called “59 X 59”Similar Shenkar exhibits/projects may also have been carried out in previous/subsequent years and will be added to the PPPA as information/images become available.

Analysis / Interpretation / Press / Source

From the catalog, “57X57”
Head of Department: Professor David Grossman
Awards: David Tartakover, Dan Reisinger and Yaki Molcho
Director of Special Projects: Merav Kariv
Sponsorship and public relations: Reign
Catalog design: Michal and Dekel
Printing: Ofer Katz
Administrative assistance: Orly Patz and Helli Itach
Thanks: Prof. Amotz Weinberg, Baruch Sagiv, Varda Kalmar, Yosi Alkalai
From the catalog:
“Last year's exhibition, 56X56, was notable in that all 56 posters posters reflected the negative political and social environment. In particular, the posters dealt with terror, violence and the apparently stalled peace process. The extent of the self criticism present in the posters drew a great deal of attention and criticism in the media.”

___________________________________________"This year while there is still a good deal of criticism expressed by the posters (a natural tendency of critical creative individuals) tbere are a number of changes. The changed political environment, stirrings of developments in the peace process and the approaching disnegagements from some of the Palestinian territories are reflected in the posters, with hesitant expressions of possible advances on the peace front. More profound, are expressions of the internal tensions generated be the disengagement process, with the numerous references to maps, divisions and the unraveling of the geographic fabric of the country. Most interesting is the great number of references to internal social questions, especially to the rising wave of consumerism affecting Israeli culture and society"Read entire text here

_____________________________________________Email exchange between Dan Walsh and David GrossmanDear Mr. Walsh, I think you are referring to the posters designed in the framework of a series of Independence Day Poster exhibitions I organized over the years. The posters were designed especially for the exhibitions and were mostly created by professionals and not students. Unfortunately, while I still have the posters, they are not available in digital form. I would add that the content of the posters, designed by Israeli designers as part of what was overwhelmingly an internal debate, have a very different context when viewed by an international (and even regional) audience. I have had a look at some of the materials in your project (admittedly quite a short look!). And I think that I understand both the potential value and the motivations. I am sure that I am not the first to tell you that the issues in this part of the world are very complicated. (Yes...as in every part of the world.) There is of course value in collecting materials for academic study - the first stage of which is simple gathering (simple in terms of evaluation, not effort). But I am probably not the first to question the real academic value of merely presenting the materials, one poster next to another, without providing the often uninformed viewer with the deeper and far more complicated background issues. This is especially true when in respect to your suggestion that these materials could well be used as a basis for a study curriculum on Middle Eastern studies. If asked, I would probably identify myself as more to the left than the right (to put it mildly), and I believe my public record would support that. However I have to tell you that reviewing the structure, contents and language of your site made me uncomfortable in terms of a fair representation of the issues. Good luck with your thesis....and perhaps it would be appropriate to include this comment in your research notes! David GrossmanHello Again David, ... I myself see little academic value in "merely presenting the materials, one poster next to another, without providing the often uninformed viewer with the deeper and far more complicated background issues." It is for exactly this reason that my site, and the New Curriculum of which it is a part, has been designed, constructed and reviewed according to the principles and best-practices of, among others, Georgetown University, the National Council of Social Studies and the Middle East Studies Association. If you go through the site, which features almost 1,500 Israeli and Zionist posters (according to Yoram Shamir, the largest online archives in the world) I think you will quickly see that translations are provided in almost every case. It also provides detailed links to relevant elements found in the posters: iconography, publication data, sponsoring organizations, dates, dimensions, related posters and artists bio data and, if available, contact info. These features, modeled on the American Library Association's best-practices advisory, set the PPPA apart from all other sites related to the poster art of the Palestinian-Zionist conflict. Moreover, Israel is the number one country visiting the PPPA (approximately 600/month) and there are scores of Israeli artists, including David Tartakover (who is on the Advisory Board) who regularly send me their posters and who support the PPPA in a variety of ways. And yes, you are the first person to suggest that my project does not have real academic value. Indeed, just last week several Israeli educators wrote welcoming me to include all the posters their students had done in some recent contests and classes. As to your comment that "without providing the often uninformed viewer with the deeper and far more complicated background issues". I am in the process now of adding an "auto-fill" page that will allow these Israeli students (and also all other artists) to take control of the data process and fill out their PPPA pages with their info, links, Artists' Statements, etc. Once completed the PPPA will host these Israeli exhibits in their entirety. The question of context is central to the PPPA's identity and it sets it apart from all other Israeli/Palestinian poster sites, including that of the CZA (which has just disappeared from the internet) ... Dan Walsh