The Great Convergence

Traversing across a snow-covered plane, 17 naked bodies wielding condiment dispensers converge. Through strings of yellow bitter and sweet red, betwixt the bodies and the frigid cold, upon a sun-drenched day – something harmonizes.

The Great Convergence was originally created for the juncture in the Passover Seder called The Korech, where every year among Jews, the story of Exodus is retold. Between communal telling and the feast, is the Korech, aka: the Hillel Sandwich. Here we eat a sandwich of hastily made Matzah (unleavened bread) with horseradish and sweetened apples. This sandwich serves to reminds us of the journey from bondage to freedom with both sweet and bitter between unleavened bread. In the days of Pharaoh, and Hillel the Elder, the main ingredient to this original sandwich was the sacrificial lamb. The lamb was given in place of the first born serving as a replacement to the terminal sacrifice of ourselves. In today’s celebration, with the prohibition of sacrifice, we are missing the meat. This video was made as a frozen moment of bodily sacrifice and convergence between cold and warmth. Commissioned by a project of The Skirball Center, artists were asked to create interpretive videos based on text of 14 sections of the Haggadah to be screened together in order for Passover and a commemorative DVD.

Sound design for The Great Convergence and Text Between Meat videos by Suzanne Thorpe

Funding:

  • Skirball Center
  • The Covenant Foundation

Exhibition for Text Between Meat:

Press:

  • Heeb Magazine: March 2010, The Great Convergence, Passover stripped – online
  • The Jewish Week: March 2010, A YouTube Haggadah, Projecting Freedom, Sharon Udasin
  • JTA: April 2010, Jewish and Israel News, Passover Feature, The Great Convergence, Jacob Berkman

If we are to learn to live with less, we must also begin to accept ourselves and what we, as beings, offer. With a lack of this acceptance, we may end up missing, rather than full. To go forward, it is at times necessary to take a step back.

Ironically it is this image of reduction, the embrace and expose of physical vulnerability that caused an outcry from funders. Though pre-approved and commended by curator and Rabbi, The Great Convergence was sub sequentially banned from its original screening environment. In addendum, Text Between Meat was shown in its place.

Made to tell the story of a present day bondage and personal movement to freedom, Text Between Meat depicts another story, told simply and with less. As multiple stories are told at once, of censorship and bondage, between the spoken and the written, metaphor and actuality, we find ourselves in a tundra of emptiness, searching, free and awake. With life and meaning beyond the Seder, The Great Convergence and Text Between Meat seek belonging, context, forum.

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