Dani Gal: An Elaborate Gesture of Pastness, 2021

Produced on behalf of Blood Mountain Projects

Dani Gal, An Elaborate Gesture of Pastness, Motto Books, 2021 (cover) © The Artist, MB, BMP

“Dani Gal’s films occupy a borderland where fiction and historical reconstruction mingle and where the past bears disturbing messages for the present. Focused on a series of events unfolding at the margins of our usual narratives of the Holocaust, Gal’s work challenges what we thought we know about the genocide and its legacies. In the gray zones Gal reconstructs, we find unexpected exchanges between victims and perpetrators and between the histories of Europe and Israel/Palestine. This book offers a rich and powerful introduction to Dani Gal’s uncanny and unsettling vision.” 

– Michael Rothberg, Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Chair in Holocaust Studies UCLA, Los Angeles; Author of ‘The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators’ (2019) & ‘Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization’ (2009).

The publication contextualises Gal’s film trilogy within the fields of memory politics, remembrance culture, Holocaust studies, decolonialism as well as film and art history.

New texts by Sa’ed Atshan, Noit Banai, Sabeth Buchmann, Burcu Dogramaci, and Dani Gal revolve around ethical, moral, historical and aesthetic dilemmas. Accompanied by visual and literary materials from Gal’s extensive research practice, the publication raises questions about cinema as an instrument for the production and reproduction of the real: dialogic versus fixed notions of history, unsettling empathy, historical trauma and the possibility of forgiveness in the context of German, Jewish and Palestinian histories.

Authors: Sa’ed Atshan, Noit Banai, Sabeth Buchmann, Burcu Dogramaci, Dani Gal
Editors: Dani Gal, Mika Hayashi Ebbesen
Publisher: Motto Books, Berlin
Producer: Blood Mountain Projects, Vienna
Graphic Designer: Olga Prader
English | 128 Pages | 17 x 24 cm |Softcover | ISBN: 9782940672219

Price: €19.00 + p.p.

click here to order

Produced by Jade Niklai on behalf of Blood Mountain Projects.
Supported BMKOES, Ernst & Olga Gubler-Hablützel Stiftung, Nationalfonds and Zukunftsfonds

About the Trilogy

Night and Fog (22 mins, 2011) is a re-enactment of the night of 31 May 1962, based on an interview Gal made with Michael Goldman-Gilad, a Holocaust survivor and Israeli police officer, who had undertaken the secret mission of scattering the ashes of Adolf Eichmann into the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea after he was captured in Argentina and brought to trial and executed in Israel.

Dani Gal, Nights and Fog, 2011 (22 mins), still © The Artist
Dani Gal, Nights and Fog, 2011 (22 mins), still © The Artist

As from Afar (26 mins, 2013) is a fictionalised account of a meeting between Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to bring Nazi criminals to justice, and Albert Speer, the chief architect of the Third Reich, using the letters they exchanged throughout the 1970s as a basis for the dialogue.

Dani Gal, As from Afar, 2013 (26 mins), still © The Artist
Dani Gal, As from Afar, 2013 (26 mins), still © The Artist

White City (25 mins, 2018) revolves around the complex character of Arthur Ruppin, a German Jew and one of the founders of the Zionist Settlement who promoted co-existence with the Palestinians before the establishment of the State of Israel. The film traces his visit to the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart, and his 1933 meeting with Hans F. K. Günther, the leading German eugenicist of the time who became a major influence on National Socialist race theory.

Dani Gal, White City, 2018 (28 mins), still © The Artist
Dani Gal, White City, 2018 (28 mins), still © The Artist

Book Launch

19 October 2021
Vienna Wiesental Institute, Vienna

This was a live-stream event with limited live audience.
Please view the recording below.

Dani Gal in conversation with art historian and book contributor Prof. Sabeth Buchmann and museum director Dr Hanno Loewy. Chaired by Prof. Dr. Éva Kovács with readings by actor and performer, Alexander Fennon.

Event Partners: Vienna Wiesenthal Institute, Singer Bookshop and Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies at Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.

Event Supporters: BMKOES, Bundesministerium Bildung und Forschung and Stadt Wien.

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Dani Gal, Nights and Fog, 2011 (22 mins), still © The Artist