Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Exploration in the Domain of Idiocy was the title of Tamy Ben-Tor's show & performances at Zach Feuer Gallery in 2005. In her work, of course, she dons costumes and wigs and transforms herself in a menagerie of satirical characters. What these characters have in common are their pompous egos and their lack self-critical thinking. Each of these figures is in center of their own ideological melodrama. We have been transported to, or presented with, the domain of idiocy, which is uneasily familiar.

In panel discussion in 2006, Ben-Tor came out against ideology: "Ideology hides the truth. Once you have ideology, people have interests.” More than true, this is the heart of her work: the raw exposure of our "ideology", our personal and cultural paradigms about our history, other cultures, and why we are right. Her characters share the same trapped-in quality-- trapped in their own minds and worlds and truths, shouting at each other.

I saw Ben-Tor at Salon 94 on Nov 4, performing Judensau. It was the first time I had seen her live and it was incredible, transportive and persuasive. Ben-Tor has been compared to comedians such as Tracy Ullman and Sarah Silverman, but that seems to miss the point of her work (that she is not in this for entertainment, but in a quest for our self-reflection-- that haunting feeling that follows you out, thinking, I'm not like I?). There is a deep feeling of commitment which emanates from Ben-Tor which separates her from the entertainment-industry, or maybe its just the myth of the noble artist talking.

video link: Suspeseous Tourists - project by Tami Ben Tor, Daniel Sinichkin and Boom
TLV, "Cosmonaut", 14 August, 2004