The Undertaker, 2019
One channel video and sound installation, 13 min.
The film chronicles an enigmatic leader and her armed followers during a choreographed procession and burial of weapons. Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy, plays a prominent role as this group of dancers, war veterans, and activists from a variety of local communities moves across the city’s charged historical landscape. Their procession and slow, deliberate gestures are grounded in the movements of Israeli dance composer Noa Eshkol (1924–2007), particularly her 1953 ceremonial performance in remembrance of the Holocaust. Rather than a memorial to the dead, Bartana’s symbolic burial is a monument for the living, an invitation to consider our bodies as both carriers of trauma as well as vehicles for hope and resistance.