Born in 1975 in Jerusalem, Israel / Lives in Berlin, Germany
Jens Hoffmann (JH): In your work you often bring together sound and visual art.
Dani Gal (DG): I am interested in the relationship between sound and image and how manipulating them affects our understanding and perception of events. Some works deal with issues of sound and image at a more abstract level, as in Black Magic Marker (2009). I visited Lee “Scratch” Perry in his studio to see the visual-metaphysical systems that he creates in relation to his music, and then made my piece in response to his mode of working. Or in Dumitrescu’s Dream (2010), where I adapted into a video Iancu Dumitrescu’s dream—the dream was of a violent audiovisual experience and it deeply affected his work as a musician.
JH: Historical Record Archive (2005–ongoing) ironically has no sound at all. It presents the history of the last 100 years via LP covers depicting influential people. How did this piece come about?
DG: I started collecting these records after coming across an Israeli record that documents the Six-Day War. Which is an amazing record. I started to explore the phenomenon of vinyl records that portray historical events and was surprised at how many of them there were. This led me to think about these recordings as pure sound material. While listening to them I try to ignore the content and experience them as organized noise, or sound objects—terms from musique concrète. I believe that this method of watching or listening to politically loaded material in a formalistic way, which I use in other works as well, is a means of getting at the relevance of a historical event. I see the presentation of HistoricalRecord Archive as a potential sound work. The audience cannot listen to the records but can try to imagine the sounds, and this is where, maybe, collective memory exists.
JH: Your second piece in the exhibition, the neon work THE/A/T/E/ SHOO/TING/DONEBY/OF/OFFI/ CERS/ARE/SHOT (2009), plays with a particular conceptual vernacular, but it also addresses a subject related to your home country of Israel.
DG: This piece is based on a phrase taken from the book Fatal Words: Communication Clashes and Aircraft Crashes by the linguist Steven Cushing. One of Cushing’s fields of research is miscommunication due to phonological, syntactical, and semantic polysemy. By using the Pop and Conceptual art tradition of neon signs I alternate between four versions of a phrase, creating two levels of changing meaning: one, the varying point of view between object and subject and victim and perpetrator, and two, the meaning of the word “shooting” in English, which refers to the use of either a camera or a gun. The phrase refers to the fact that, as current affairs are experienced by people primarily through media, a gap is created between the “real” event and the mediation of it. The subject, of course, is relevant to Israeli media and its discourse, where the overflow of media coverage creates misinformation and questions surrounding victims and perpetrators.