"Objects in Transition" – Exhibit
People migrate, change their place of residence, set out on adventures or flee for their lives; they immigrate and emigrate, are haunted by homesickness or never look back. People carry suitcases packed with objects and memories. Inside the suitcases, memories and objects mix and merge; objects turn into memories and memories become objects. When they reach their destination and unpack their suitcases, it turns out that the memories and the objects are one.
Objects are a substance that symbolizes absence; they are the magic boxes that encapsulate a life that is no more ("The Sages of Transylvania", "Mother's Recipe"). Once they are set free, objects take on a life of their own. Usually, a function is found for them in the new place. Like the immigrants themselves, objects must reluctantly accept changes in their appearance and purpose ("A Different Tea").
At times, they serve as transitional objects that sustain the emotional bond with the homeland, with that primary place of intimacy and love. Scents, flavors, sceneries, dear faces, and familiar body sensations are all enclosed in the objects. Memories of them are invoked and reborn with each glance, at the object, with every contact with or narrative about them: a mother's book of recipes stores the flavor and odor of home, the tweezers capture the touch of mother's hands, and the Narnia book - evokes the feelings of childhood innocence and of home.
Other objects absorb the new world; longings for the new place and the joy of the first encounter ("My Jerusalem"), the hardships en-route ("The Relay Race Cup," "A Journey by Foot") and the sense of freedom upon arrival ("Vanilla Flavored Freedom").
In this exhibition, people talk about objects related to their transition to Israel. Their personal stories infuse the objects with meaning and life. In part, these meanings are shared by entire generations, by whole waves of migration and immigration, by us all.
The exhibition celebrates the inauguration of the BGU Project for Research and Education on Migrants' Lives in Israel – MigLives.IL.