The Israeli Center for Digital Art
The Israeli Center for Digital Art is a dynamic platform for thinking, researching, producing, presenting, and analyzing contemporary art, as well as providing a meeting point for exchange between contemporary artists, curators, critics and the public. Since 2010, the centre has been based in an abandoned school building in the Jessy Cohen neighborhood in Holon, a neighborhood which was established in the early 1950’s and since then remained an underprivileged neighborhood of immigrants. Relocating to this spot was an opportunity for the centre to expand and add to its experience and practice in working with residents and other community partners.
The center is a non-profit organization supported by the city of Holon. As a public art space it consistently questions the place of art institutions within their society. This brings to the front political and social issues, with which the centre believes art should grapple. By expressing views that do not correlate in many cases with policies of the state, the definition of an art institute and a publicly financed art space are examined and put to the test. In an effort to stimulate discourse in Israeli society, the center devotes a significant part of its work on art projects that raise questions about identity, ethnicity, nationalism and cultural exchange.
This activity is led by the overarching question of how an art institute can reflect and react to volatile conditions of culture and politics and produce a critical approach to the oppressive power of the government. The center initiates partnerships and collaborations with contemporary artists, theorists, writers, curators, and other institutions in the Middle East and the Balkan region, to explore how creative communities from different peripheries of the world can connect, learn from one another, and break down nationalistic or regional barriers.
In 2013 the Center initiated the “Glocal Neighbours” project, in collaboration with the Kunstverein Wagenhalle in Nordbahnhof, Stuttgart. This project focuses on exchange of knowledge between two interdisciplinary groups from both neighborhoods in both countries, including artists, social workers, teachers, activists and more. This collaborative project operated from 2013 to 2015, focusing on joint learning processes, mutual professional visits, and building online and physical databases in both neighborhoods in which a variety of test cases could be examined and studied.
Late 2015 marked the end of the Glocal Neighbours Project. We concluded by publishing of a compendium of writing about and inspired by the project and by holding a conference in Holon, supported by the Israel Office of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, which presented the project’s process, joint projects that grew out of it, and included lectures and workshops by project participants and guests, as well as a wide range of content associated with the methodologies reviewed as part of Glocal Neighbors.
As its theme, the conference addressed the neighborhood as an arena for global forces and processes, and examined a variety of ideas and practices, from Israel and around the world, for contending with these processes. Additionally, and in conjunction with the CDA’s work in the Jessy Cohen neighborhood over the past five years, the conference aimed to promote interdisciplinary collaborations between art and other disciplines such as education, social work, and working with youth at risk.
For further information on the centre: http://www.digitalartlab.org.il/Index.asp.
The full catalog of the conference