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MELISSA SHIFF

Passover Projections

Passover Projections inserts the audience into Cecil B. De Mille's iconic film The Ten Commandments. This pop projection enacts the mandate in the Haggadah that says one should feel as if you yourself were a slave in Egypt. In other words one should identify with the oppressed. 

 ARK is a 4.5-meter high structure made out of acrylic and aluminum that serves as a 3D projection screen. Shiff has created a 30-minute video that narrates the history of the museum and the Prague Jewish community during the last turbulent century. It reflects upon the museum as an ark (as a sanctuary for Jewish cultural and religious treasures) and an archive (that preserves the legacy of Jewish cultural memory) as well as on the function of the museum in general. ARK confronts man-made catastrophes such as the Holocaust and natural disasters such the recent floods in Prague (2002) as the powers of the formless that threaten the museological imperative to collect, order, and structure the archive.

     Shiff explains the symbolism of ARK as follows: "The museum functions as Noah's Ark did in the Old Testament – to salvage and save what might otherwise be destroyed by natural disaster and catastrophe. Therefore ARK seemed to be the perfect metaphor for a project about the museum and particularly about this museum that was able to salvage thousands and thousands of objects during the Holocaust."

Exhibitions

Festival of Freedom Seder

Museum for Jewish Heritage, New York, NY

2006

Considered for permanent collection by Acquisitions Committee 

The Jewish Museum, New York, NY

Credits

Artist: Melissa Shiff

Producer: Michael Dorff

Participants: Douglas Rushkoff, Matisyahu, Rebbitzen Hadassah Gross, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Dr. Ruth
 

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