Curated Artist Registry

The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.

ALL ARTISTS ALPHABETICALLY: a → d e → h i → l m → p q → t u → x y → z

Orit Ben-Shitrit
Brooklyn NY US
Updated: 2017-01-19 02:19:15


I've been utilizing movement and bodies to address issues of domination and the potential for violence. These issues developed as I engaged with three main topical themes: cycles of violence in the Middle East, invisible mechanisms of political, religious and economic control; and conflicted beings trapped in bodies.

The works span a spectrum of historical references, combined with ideas that relate to co-dependency, inner demons and behavioral disorders in texture-rich imagery. In my work, the body is a site of repression and angst. I work with individual performers to develop movements that infuse their memories and personal pathologies into situations that are evident in societal structures.

I'm particularly interested in extracting the control mechanisms from these societal structures and testing them in invented scenarios. Speech is a control mechanism that I find particularly compelling. The oratory scene in the two-channel video MEN DIE AND THEY ARE NOT HAPPY, is delivered in Urdek - a language I conjured up from riffs on German and the Berber dialect of Moroccan Arabic. Although unintelligible, the speaker embodies the mannerisms of a demagogue - controlling and manipulating his audience. The scene is simultaneously about the technique of storytelling and story structure, as well as the observation of the audience's individual responses and the nuance of their facial expressions. I'm motivated by the need to probe and examine relationships on a personal, co-dependent level, as well as on broader, group and nationalistic levels. This query originates from having grown up in the fragmented and complex state of Israel, where the need for self-assertion is a daily reality. I'm curious about what keeps people together in one situation and what might turn them into enemies in another. How do we form a sense of allegiance and why? How do we, as individuals, manage to maintain a constant fragile sense of sovereignty?

Below are descriptions of individual works:


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . VIVE LE CAPITAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Pascal works on Wall Street and surpasses greed to become a prominent philanthropist. Greed surpasses Pascal because he works on Wall Street. VIVE LE CAPITAL is a deliberation on a love/hate relationship with money. It pirouettes between the incriminating recordings of Pascal, a Banker's Trust investor at 14 Wall Street, and two dancers who employ their bodies to comment like a Greek Chorus. They travel in time to embody Cosimo De Medici on his bench - the earliest form of banking, and pay homage to the French Revolution and John Law, the first Ponzi schemer in history, who caused the bankruptcy of Louis the 14th's monarchy


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . HALF TAMED BEAST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The site-specific dance performance, HALF TAMED BEAST, tells the story of four people who are lost in the desert. They travel across sand dunes searching for water. All they have left is one small container of water to be shared amongst them. Parched, they struggle with one another for the last few drops. Each of them is trapped in a body shriveled from the heat of the scorching sun. The three of them cast off the BEAST who is an impulsive character with very long arms. The BEAST does not share their social code and basic rules of self-control, which leads to her ultimate demise. The performance is an east/west fusion of visual, movement and sound.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MEN DIE AND THEY ARE NOT HAPPY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The three scenarios in MEN DIE AND THEY ARE NOT HAPPY focus on three aspects of the state: The LAW, The LEADER and the PEOPLE. Each of the three scenes deals with: subconscious pathology, political/religious rhetoric and an abstract life and death scenario, respectively. Each scene is bookended by a Dance of Violence- an actor battling an invisible force in a red room. The silent narrator, also a dancer, carries the action from the dance into the next scene. The first scene (depicted in the excerpt), The LAW, displays ten people standing in line in a judgment-day scenario. Each of them exhibits an exaggerated nervous behavior, which points to their personal subconscious pathology. The Law's representative- a female guard- stands at the door. Her presence is forceful yet still, except for one dramatic look at The PEOPLE as they churn, mumble and click like a machine.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ONOMONO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ONOMONO is an experimental performance with video projection and live-feed sound. It depicts a circle of destruction. The video projection captures the ailments of our society using archival footage, ghosted over original footage of the Atlantic-ocean, Cappadocia, and an abandoned building in the Arab-Israeli town of Abu-Ghosh. The archival material includes: gruesome animal experiments, depression-era economic graphics, as well as Schizophrenia and OCD patients. The word ONOMONO is a palindrome- it can be read forward and back. The video begins and ends with the same visual note. The sound is created using alive-feed into a Kaleidoloop: a recording device that can manipulate speed, pitch and direction. During the performance, I sampled sounds live- some by recording the audience, which I then played back, forward and in reverse at different speeds and pitch to create the soundtrack. This work was inspired by the French Anarchist book the Coming Insurrection, which offers a vivid diagnosis of the capitalist decrepitude of our society.

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