2010–ongoing; Performance, action, video
We are proposing to immigrate to the Jewish Autonomous Region in Russia. The concept of this proposal derives from the implied duty of Jews in diaspora to immigrate, make “Aliyah” to the State of Israel. (Literally “Aliyah” means ascension. To make “Aliyah” is to ascend to the Promised Land).
In 1934 Joseph Stalin created the Jewish Autonomous Region (JAR), with the capital of Birobidzhan in the far eastern region of the country. Stalin believed that creating a Jewish state in the Soviet Union would have provided Soviet Jews with an alternative to the desire to move to Palestine and would have redirected their loyalty to the Soviet state.
In 1979 the parents of Nathaniel went in search of a communal Jewish lifestyle. They moved to the State of Israel; Nathaniel was four years old. They lived on a kibbutz, a secular Jewish agricultural socialist settlement for nine years and fulfilled their duty to populate the State of Israel.
The conceptual premise of the work is that we would like to fulfill our duty as Jews much like Nathaniel’s parents did, however, given the political situation in the State of Israel we would like to immigrate to the other Jewish homeland, in Russia.
We will stage an “Aliyah” to the JAR. We will pursue the promise of building a Jewish homeland. We will make the rigorous voyage across Russia to arrive in the distant region. Upon arrival we will claim the promised parcel of land. Once we have secured a parcel of land we will cultivate it and seek our Jewish community.
The Video “Making Aliyah” was created for the occasion of the 2010 Moscow Biennial for Young Art, curated by Daria Pyrkina. It was also Selected for the 4th Cairo Video Art Festival, MEDRAR for Contemporary Arts in Egypt. The project is featured in Fondazione March’s inaugural issue of Search Engine and can be downloaded here. The performance is in the e-flux archive of the Agency for Unrealized Projects.