Sambation was created especially for the 28th Jewish Culture Festival together with Israeli art collective HaMiffal

It has an astonishing peculiarity. For, when it flows, it is a copious stream with a current far from sluggish; then all at once its sources fail, and for the space of six days it presents the spectacle of a dry bed; again, as though no change had occurred, it pours forth on the seventh day just as before.  And it has always been observed to keep strictly to this order; whence they have called it the Sabbatical river, so naming it after the sacred seventh day of the Jews. 

Josephus, The Jewish War

a film by Mateusz Miszczyński and Jakub Słabek

Jewish Culture Festival invited an artistic collective from Jerusalem – HaMiffal (Hebrew for factory) to create a special project inspired by Kazimierz, that would interpret in a creative way its history, cultural heritage and today’s life in Jewish quarter of Krakow. On the border between Kazimierz and Krakow’s Old Town, Israeli artists turned an apartment in a town house at 32 Sebastiana Street, owned by the Bosak family, into one huge installation and made it a temporary space for art.

This is how we created Sambation – a project that evokes a different reality, arousing memories and flooding the space with many layers of local history. Artistic interventions with the use of sculpture, paintings and video art as well as a diverse program of workshops, performances and artistic events with the participation of the audience, filled that space during 28th JCF. They examined the experience of dealing with absence, silenced myths, leading to the outburst of exposed art-making, stemming from suppressed subconsciousness.

photo: Bartosz Dittmar

HaMiffal Collective is a community of artists representing various fields of art who have joined forces to make a total artistic project in a historic building located in the heart of Jerusalem. Once belonging to a wealthy Arab family, then abandoned for years, the house has a new life thanks to the collective. Wall paintings have been discovered, the history of the building has been examined and documented. At present, the artists run this place themselves, and it consists of a performance space, a gallery, a B&B for artists, a café and a workshop space. HaMiffal has been functioning for two years, based on the activities of the Empty House group (Bayit Rek), founded in 2011, which aims to transform abandoned buildings into temporary “temples of culture”.

The town house at ul. św. Sebastiana 32 was bought by the Bosaks in 1910, and the entire large family lived there until they were moved to the ghetto in 1941. Józef Bosak, one of the few survivors of the Bosak family, immigrated to Israel in 1949. This year, thanks to the kindness of Józef’s descendants, we hosted there the Sambation project, but already during 25th JCF the apartment was a venue for the exhibition A View of a Quarter , presenting photographs taken in Kazimierz by Cracovian Eugeniusz Wilczyk in 1950s and Austrian photographer Suzanne Guzei-Taschner in 1980s. In 2014, commissioned by the festival, Israeli group Broken Fingaz created a special mural on a different building owned by Bosak family, right next to the Old Synagogue.

Artists: Ann Deych, Anat Bosak, Deborah Fischer, Gilli Levi, Itamar Hammerman, Kobi Vogman, Meydad Eliyahu, Michal Chevion, Michal Harada, Michael Cohen, Noa Arad Yairi, Neta Meisels, Shmulik Twig, Shavit Yaron, Tal Ben Hamo, Tal Harada, Yuval Yairi, artistic director: Meydad Eliyahu

Sambation was operating only during the 28th JCF. But we left something for those, who live in the building: a bench and a sculpture created by Shmulik Twig and Shavit Yaron, as well as beautiful frescoes in the entrance corridor created by Meydad Eliyahu.

Sambation - program of events

  • Sambation – The Opening / Friday, June 22, 5:00 pm
    On the first day of the Festival, we opened the door to the town house at ul. św. Sebastiana 32, inviting you to participate in the Sambation project. Throughout the Friday evening, and every consecutive
    day you were able to take an active part in creating this place together with the artists.
  • Food Painting – Ann Deych (IL) / June 22 (at the opening), July 1 (at the closing)
    One of the artistic activities on the opening day of the project was a culinary performance by Ann Deych. It is a story about the identity and definition of culture seen from the kitchen. The artist
    created her abstract picture in front of the audience, combining Polish and Israeli cuisine and products typical for both, testing their colours, shapes, flavours and textures. The participants were able to
    actively co-create the final visual effect, eating the dishes prepared by Ann, at the same time changing the look of the “image”.
  • Printing Workshops – Józef Rakoczy (PL) / June 23, 26, 1:00 pm
    The artists from the HaMiffal collective met  Józef Rakoczy, a Cracovian, a printer with great experience and passion for his profession, the creator of a traditional printing workshop at the Museum of Municipal Engineering. Together with them, the audience made and printed their own souvenirs from JCF and Krakow’s Sambation on an old hand-held printing machine.
    Collaboration: the Museum of Municipal Engineering
  • Head Force. Performative visit to the Bosak house – Anat Bosak (IL) / June 23, 25–29, 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm; June 24, 30, 3:00 pm
    Anat Bosak invited you to an interactive walk around the rooms where her ancestors lived. Moving in a small group of unfamiliar people, participants got headphones and listened to instructions that would allow to be a part of a site specific performance and to see the space of the flat from a different, intimate perspective.
  • The Cinema Zion – film screenings / Thursday, June 28, 5:00 pm, Friday, June 29, 9:00 pm
    The cult Zion cinema operated in the very centre of Jerusalem, at Zion Square, from the 1920s to 1972. Referring to this important cultural centre, we prepared a screening of short silent films made by independent Israeli artists. What they have in common is Zion – Jerusalem and the realities of its everyday life – which artists transform creating their surreal film world.
    The Messenger – Daniel Kiczales plays five guitar pieces, his original compositions as a duet with the calls of muezzin from the Issawiya neighborhood in Jerusalem.
    JLM 1913/1921 – Markey Funk, composer and music producer, created a soundtrack for two pieces of film footage: Lives of the Jews (1913, dir. Noah Sokolovsky) and Return to Zion (1921, dir. Yaakov Ben Dov). Both films were made as a pure documentation, without aspiring to be an art. Markey Funk’s delicate, haunted music charges the films with new meanings.
    Program editor: Gilli Levi
  • Drunk DJs Associations  / Sunday, June 24, 6:00 pm
    That was an unpredictable and slightly chaotic event. Each of the DJs was to respond to an earlier piece with a song that they associate with the title and explain their choice to the audience. If they couldn’t do it, they drank a shot of vodka as penalty. The musical story started with a hit entitled Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold). Two DJs, three hours and one fascinating journey through the history of Israeli music. DJs: Gilli Tha Kid, Ofer “SchoolMaster” Tal.
  • Ma Zze? Experimental Jewish Food Session – Ann Deych (IL) & Guests /
    June 24, 4:00 pm – Painting Still Gefilte Life – Inspired by the old tradition of still life painting and food photography , we explored different painting and visual representations using Jewish food as its model.
    June 26, 4:00 pm – Kneidel Sculpting – Experience working with food as a raw material for sculpting and creating the edible art pieces.
    June 29, 4:00 pm – What’s Cooking? – During this meeting we explored different aspects (textures, smells, colors) of dishes we know, once they are unrecognizable and seen from a different angle.
  • Splitting of a Woman. Performance. – Noa Arad Yairi (IL) / June 23 – July 1, 2:00 pm
    Noa took you to take part in the act of creation the inner side of her sculpture. She encouraged  to interact with her sculpture, to crush it as well as to recreate it. You could join her every day, at 2:00 pm.
  • A Good Enough City – Neta Meisels (IL) / Saturday, June 30, 4:00 pm
    HaMiffal (meaning a factory) is an artistic project that transformed an abandoned 19th century building in the heart of Jerusalem into a community centre of culture, where people from all walks of life
    can meet and express their creative selves. The place was created on the initiative of the Empty House collective as an attempt to discover new ways of thinking and acting through the recovery for the inhabitants unused urban spaces. Neta Meisels, Executive Director of HaMiffal, told  the story of this place, presented its goals and challenges, encouraging discussion on the role of art in urban policy planning.
  • Artist Talk: Meetings with the creators of the Sambation project
    June 23, 5:00 pm – Tal Harada (IL) – Graphic designer, creator of visual identification of the Empty House and HaMiffal collective, talked about his work and projects.
    June 26, 5:00 pm – Noa Arad Yairi (IL) – The sculptor talked about her inspirations and artistic activities in the galleries and urban spaces of Jerusalem.
    June 27, 5:00 pm – Kobi Vogman (IL) – The director, a visual artist, presented his latest works on creative activity on the border of the world of art, street art and commercial projects.
    June 29, 5:00 pm – Meydad Eliyahu (IL) – The artist and researcher talked about the inspiration of multi-layered local stories in their site-specific art, both in individual projects and as part of the activities of the creators’ collective.
  • Sambation – The Closing: Take Apart / Sunday, July 1, 7:00–9:00 pm
    The last meeting with the Jerusalem collective HaMiffal and the last chance to join their artistic activities. At the end, everyone could take a piece of the Sambation project with them.

Coordination of the project on behalf of the JCF: Judith Paletta, Paweł Kowalewski

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