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Disobedience in Byelorussia: Self-Interrogation on “Research-Based Art”


Good evening, I'm in charge of security for El Al, do you speak Hebrew?

In the art world, people don't entirely know what they are talking about. They ask a lot of questions. It's not that people don't know what they already know, but rather that they want to know something more in order to do the next thing—and somehow get it right. That's enough of a reminder that you might have something to say, and that at some point it might make sense. It is in fact those who ask questions who make the entire mechanism function.

The single most interesting discussion I have had about art was not with an artist, curator, critic, or the like, but with an El Al security officer a few years ago when I was detained and subsequently escorted onto a flight to Tel Aviv. I really messed up when I mentioned that I never intended to be an artist. As it turned out, the interrogator was himself an artist, or, more precisely, a cartoonist.

During the flight, I was separated from my laptop. When asked, I didn't think to mention that it contained a folder of al-Qaeda videos clearly marked as such. Only later did I consider the possible consequences of my curiosities, which would have been more than difficult to justify as “artistic research.”

Read the full article here.