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Disgraceful Retreat Under Pressure, 2005

A breakup scene consisting of several chapters taking place on the doorstep, on the sofa, in the bedroom. Einat Amir, playing both roles, breaks up. Through fine hints – of dress, behavior and tone – that lend the figures a “male” or “female” character, she skips between the sexes. Amir photographs herself in her apartment, explaining herself to herself with words extracted directly from the disengagement lexicon. Her texts are all derived from speeches delivered by Israeli prime ministers, Barak and Sharon, between 2000 and 2005, gathered from various media.

In her video, Amir depicts intimate situations, desperate attempts at an impossible separation, where the text is at times articulated with irony and pathos, at others – with frozen laconicism. It is a highly tragic, intimate confession with which the listener must identify, but what if your listener is yourself? Amir creates a unilateral breakup, a dialogue which is a monologue. She converses with an other who is absent from the discourse, and at the same time – it is the self. Each of the figures desperately attempts, in vain, to preserve the “safe borders,” basic rights, human dignity. Notions such as “self-defense”, “retrenchment”, “struggle for one’s home” reflect both a general “national state” and a private “existential state”.

The exhausting relationship and breakup negotiations are permeated with the “national” speech patterns, all about separation: “They’re there and we’re here”, “pullback”, “disengagement”. Disgraceful Retreat under Pressure crosses a private breakup with a national one. Amir introduces a state-of-affairs where not only the personal is political, but the political is personal as well.

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