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 notes about GOLEM, 1974 

 8 mm film   00:06:31:00  8mm film. 

     figure performing: Michal Na'Amann  

        location: Hameorer St. 2, Givatayim, old studio (former cowshed)

         objects: charcoal, hammer, nail, white bed sheet

         camera and edit: Tamar Getter


"Golem" was shot with an 8mm camera almost in one take. The attempt was to unify the duration of the filmed scene together with that of the actual shooting time. Concreteness of this type often occurred in the Material Cinema and in Body Art and Performance Art that prevailed in the period.


In front of a rough plastered white wall, her back to the camera stands a woman in a dress. She tries to mark on its surface (not fit for a fine drawing line) an exact circle by freehand, without the help of devices. In the same way, she tries to estimate its center, marks it, and sets a nail. She writes the word 'golem' below, ties it with a rope, puts a sheet on her head, and wraps the rope around her neck until it stretches like an imaginary radius of the circle. In this state, she stands still.


'Golem in a Circle' is the Hebrew name of a children's game, one of the versions of the game 'Catch Me'. In this game, a child with his eyes covered plays the 'blind' encircled by his invisible friends. With his arms stretched he gropes for one of them while all run around eluding catch. The screams, applause, and singing accompanying this pursuit, we have a golem in a circle, create a disgraceful scene, also one of epicaricacy. It stems from the confrontation with the persona of an idiot - the golem - the cast-off, the one who is out of place in a social order. The circle is the formal expression of this, and the golem is an image of the horror of failure, a horror that every child in turn is supposed to experience and break free from at the same time, depending on the rapid pace of role change of the game. The circle that children create is not a perfect shape. But the circle as an idea is an egalitarian graphic depiction of an effective social order: at least theoretically, the children are all placed at the same distance from the golem in the center. There is he, and in contrast, there are all the others. The game evokes and also determines a chance embodied in the perfect symmetry of the circle: at the price of the one damned, everyone else gets a proper status. This structure materializes the fear and the joy of the 'golem in a circle' game.


What is left of the game in "Golem" is only the scene of disgrace, when the instruction here is the Self; The figure produces her circle. This circle also is far from perfect, but she draws it open-eyed, correcting it according to assessment, and she also stays 'in' it, voluntarily 'blinds' herself (covers her head with the sheet). Unlike in the children's game where rescuing oneself from being a golem is its goal, the figure in the film has no rescue. She binds to the wall and freezes there, in front of the circle. You could say she chooses to be the golem.


The street game scene is horizontal. In the film the situation is vertical and two-dimensional, drawing on a wall. Being stuck in front of a wall is also the painter's place. In this sense, the film "Golem" is an early image of my choice to live the life of a painter. Standing in front of a picture with the back to the 'world' tells something about the fate of making art as a seclusive act, one that takes on the role of 'being a golem', but also being the habitat of the butterfly and the other, great chance for beauty and freedom.

Hebrew offers the double future in the name 'golem'.

Golem 1974.jpg


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