Edition of X
Edition of X
Running out of history
Video work, 21 minutes
KW institute, Berlin, 2016
Sao-Paulo Biennial, 2016
A Tale for a Tub, Rotterdam, 2017
Sommer Gallery, Tel-Aviv, 2019
Running out of history is featuring a unique entanglement between fiction and facts, actual events, and historical memory. The video is based on the long-term exchange between Helfman and G., an Israeli woman who is the founder and head of Israeli Flying Aid (IFA) an NGO smuggling humanitarian aid into countries that are undergoing an inner conflict.
Running Out of History is structured as two sets of dialogues that revolve around the activist G. The first dialogue takes place between G., and her Syrian partner, to whom she reveals her Israeli identity after working with him undercover for a year and a half. The second dialogue is a conversation between G. and Helfman herself, about the differences between activism and art.
By actively employing G.'s smuggling mechanisms, Helfman produced artwork of hers in Syria during the time it was going through a civil war. Helfman used 3D printers that were smuggled into Syria by G., to print a couple of dice which bare on their sides the break-down of the imperative: We/ Will/ Not/ For/Give/Get.
The dice were given to the medical teams that were operating the 3D printers, to use as a contemplative object, that later also found itself shuffling the narration of the video work from within.
Running Out of History opens a hybrid space that reminds us of both a theater and a clandestine backroom. Helman employs the concept of this theatrical frontstage, backstage structure, to demonstrate how reviled and hidden forces simultaneously are at work in today’s society. Depending on your whereabouts in this structure your position constantly shifts: from being the observer into the one being surveilled, from aggressor into a dancer, from smuggler into an artist. After all, the theater is the place where roles are easily reversed, where nothing is what it seems and where the real and the symbolic coincide.
Running Out of History examines the idea of "smuggling" as a concrete activist tool but also as a metaphor for the artistic act, which is in a constant attempt to trace alternative paths within existing orders.