Michal Helfman: Running out of History
São Paulo Bienal
São Paulo
September 6–December 11, 2016


Links: São Paulo Bienal

Michal Helfman presented a video-installation entitled Running out of History at the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, Incerteza Viva (Live Uncertainty), curated by Jochen Volz and co-curators Gabi Ngcobo, Júlia Rebouças, Lars Bang Larsen and Sofía Olascoaga. The fictional film is based on two sets of dialogue revolving an Israeli humanitarian aid activist named ‘G’, the founder and head of IFA, an NGO known for developing smuggling techniques in countries where local regimes prevent the entry of international aid organizations. During the last four years, the NGO has been smuggling humanitarian aid to the besieged population in Syria.

The plot unfolds as one narrative, told through dialogues between Helfman, G and Rassan, her Syrian partner. The conversation is moderated by two 3D printed dice bearing the words “We will not forget, We will not forgive.” The first dialogue is a re-enactment of a dramatic night in which G confessed to her Syrian partner about her disguised Israeli identity. The second one is an interview with Helfman where they discuss the differences between activists and artists as practices which inspire and influence reality.

An installation was created as a variation on elements that already appear in the accompanying video work. Set elements and props defined the space, regulated the viewers’ movements, and served as seats for people to watch the film.