Shimon Attie’s artistic practice includes creating site-specific installations in public places, accompanying art photographs, immersive multiple-channel video and mixed-media installations for museums and galleries, and new media works.
Attie’s work allows us to reflect on the relationship between place, memory and identity. In many of his projects, he engages local communities in finding new ways of representing their history, memory, and potential futures, and explores how contemporary media may be used to re-imagine new relationships between space, time, place and identity. He is particularly concerned with issues of loss, communal trauma and the potential for regeneration. Many of his site-specific installations also function to activate and re-animate sites with images of their lost histories and/or invisible communities.
Examples on this page include:
Lost in Space (After Huck) combines cast resin sculpture w/a 6-channel video/sound environment to create an immersive 360 degree Installation. Created for the Saint Louis Art Museum, I drew inspiration from SLAM’s proximity both to the Mississippi River and to Ferguson, MO. The artwork conflates Mark Twain’s Huckelberry Finn –partly an allegory on 19thcentury race relations- w/present-day first responder/community relations. A hybrid raft/”police vehicle” appears to float in “celestial space”. Yet we are actually looking down at American cities shot at nighttime by NASA satellites above.
Stateless was made w/7 Syrian refugees who’ve recently arrived in Europe, most on rafts over the Mediterranean. The video uses Roulette as a metaphor for the forces of life and death beyond refugees’ control. W/each passing tableau, one person disappears from the game without explanation. By piece’s end, only one participant remains. The participants had no performance/acting experience. The artwork reflects the extraordinary risks migrants are forced to take, literally gambling for their lives.
Facts on the Ground, was a series of site-specific light box installations I created across Israel and Palestine. The boxes featured illuminated texts, and were staged in-order-to-be-photographed. The phrases/visual composition of the boxes were carefully considered in light of the cultural/historical/socio-political and physical dimension of each site. My intention was to give visual form to some of the ideological/psychological imperatives that underlie Israel’s past and present.
The Attraction of Onlookers was created w/a Welsh village lost nearly all of its children in a manmade avalanche. Two older projects are also included to give a wider arc of my work.