My work investigates the intersection of Jewish legacy and lived experience by questioning, imagining, and reinterpreting Jewish jurisprudence and traditions. As an artist, I am interested in not only what we remember, but how we remember and how we pass information to successive generations.
When a critical examination of the beliefs and traditions each of us in indoctrinated into is undertaken, issues of distortion and perception arise. Every time a story is retold it takes on a new life, simultaneously preventing that specific information from being lost to history while slowly transforming into something new altogether. Information passed on from previous generations changes across time- before it was committed to writing, the body of Jewish commentaries was transmitted orally, from one man's fallible memory to the next. During this period of textual and memory flux there were changes in wording and in understanding. When editors grappled with memory they had to fill in gaps and iron out inconsistencies. Over time, through the fallibility of memorizers, the well‐meaning ingenuity of editors, and after the invention of movable type, the errors of typographers, these words and stories were indoctrinated as the historical cannon. This work seeks to consider how an individual decides what to embody, embrace, or deny from their inherited legacies.
This investigation began by learning about my personal inherited legacies. Focusing on Judaism because of its unique attributes- a history of debate and argumentation as mechanisms for understanding and expounding on ambiguous passages/laws and secondly, the cross-cultural nature of Judaism’s manifestations across history and the globe. There is a long history of debate and interpretation in Judaism; this practice is called midrash. I consider this body of work to be visual exegesis that continues this long-standing practice and a methodology for synthesizing seemingly disparate bodies of knowledge- historic Jewish tradition and my personal inherited legacies.