Wine Barrel Camera, 2011, camera, b&w prints, color prints
Wine Barrel Camera, 2011
French oak, aluminum stripes, d: 26, h: 36
This is as close as it gets to the heart of the secret. Aïm Deüelle Lüski’s new camera contains sixteen viewing slots spread out at equal intervals along its perimeter. Lüski can control the installation and location, but not the image. He can also control the manner in which the photographic negatives are installed.
Kirya Neemana, 2011
photographs produced by the wine barrel camera, five color prints, pigment inject print on archival paper, 40x50
In the series "Kirya Neemana" (literally: loyal city), the barrel camera was positioned at one of the busiest cultural junctions of Israeliness: the Tel Aviv Museum of Art concourse on Shaul Hamelekh Boulevard—a setting flanked by institutions of culture, law, power, and government: the Beit Ariella Municipal Library, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the courts of law, the Golda Center that houses the Opera House and the Cameri Theater, and across the street from all of these—the Kirya, the seat of Israel’s Defense Ministry, the IDF’s General Staff and many IDF units, known and secret. It is the absorbing "pit" (literally, the underground chambers, where, so it is said, some of the army’s headquarters units are housed) and the erect tower of the ethos of Israeli security. In this series, Lüski chose to install the negatives "perpendicularly," so that they create a closed but not hermetic rectangle. The images coming in from different directions "fall" onto one another, bisect one another, blend together yet are still identifiable – not unlike our awareness of the Kirya: it is there; we know in general terms what it is but that’s about it. It is a part of our lives – visible, indeed conspicuous, yet still largely impervious, closed behind walls, as if declaring: I’m here, and it’s none of your business, proceed with your amusements at the museum, the theater, the library.
photographs produced by the wine barrel camera, four b&w prints, inject print on archival paper, 40x50
For the series "Zechariah," Lüski photographed the landscape surrounding what is, according to foreign sources, one of Israel’s most secret military camps: Kanaf 2, located near Beit Shemesh, Moshav Sdot Micha, and Moshav Zechariah. For this series, he placed the film horizontally at the center of the apparatus, allowing light to flow onto the film from sixteen different slits. The resulting image calls to mind an act of shooting, of looking through the sight of a rifle, of surveillance… which reveals nothing. The forest can’t be seen for the trees.
Information about Kanaf 2 is readily available, even in Wikipedia. Foreign sources maintain that at this location, in the heart of the woods, is an air force base where Israel’s nuclear squadrons—or else surface-to-surface nuclear rockets, or titanic ammunition dumps…—are poised, ready for action.
And then again, maybe the foreign sources are all wrong. Lüski’s camera captured only innocent fields and groves. Perhaps something slipped between the slits. Perhaps the gap between the visible and the hidden, the said and the seen, is exactly that caught by the wine barrel camera.