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 it was established in 2001 in an abandoned school building in the industrial area of Holon, the Center has grown quite rapidly from a one-room gallery six years ago. The center is a not-for-profit organization supported by the city of Holon. As a public art space it constantly questions the place of art and art institutions within their society. This brings to the front political and social issues we believe art should not be ignoring. 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 into test.
In an effort to stimulate discourse in Israeli society, the center devotes a significant part of its work on art projects that foster questions about identity, ethnicity, nationalism and cultural exchange. This activity is lead by the overarching question: How can art institutes reflect and react to volatile conditions of culture and politics?
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 each other, and break down nationalistic or regional barriers.
The activities of the center are concentrated in five main areas: The video archive, public presentations, the residency program, education program, and publications.
The video archive focuses on art from the Middle East and the Balkans, creates an area for research and functions as a space for gathering valuable data and resources for contemporary art curators, writers, and theorists. Various public presentations in the form of exhibitions, lectures, symposiums, sound events and workshops are organized, for which the center attracts a large number of participants. These take place in the center’s galleries and in other venues. The residency program provides international and local artists, curators, and critics with an opportunity to spend a period of time living and producing work in the city of Holon in order to develop their artistic or theoretical work in relation to our local context. The education program, new to 2006, initiates workshops and collaborations with Holon youth, intent on maintaining social relevance in the community. In the last two years the center has published the online media, art and culture magazine, Maarav. The magazine has been established for three years now and presents contemporary Israeli art and culture, to discuss and debate it from the perspective and reality of Israel and the world in these exciting and frightening times. Maarav provides tools to those interested in art and culture – from theoretical discussions to information on artists, exhibits, events, technology and theories. Maarav has created a unique platform in which we inform, ask questions, influence, educate and widen horizons, that is rare in the Israeli discourse.
Image of ‘The Archive Project: An Open Archive for Video Art and Digital Media’at the Israeli Center for Digital Art. Photo credit: Or Kadar