Shibboleth-Places of Articulation

Audiovisual, performative and participatory project

"And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand."

 At this early stage of development, this project is comprised of a video work and a performative-participatory event.
“Shibboleth” is a phrase or a word that can be only used or pronounced correctly by membres of a group. It testifies the belonging of a person to a group: national, ethnic, social or other, and the non-belonging of outsiders. In other words, “shibboleth” serves as a group-identity test, a verbal recognition sign.
This word originates from the bloody biblical episode cited above.

"And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand."

 At this early stage of development, this project is comprised of a video work and a performative-participatory event.
“Shibboleth” is a phrase or a word that can be only used or pronounced correctly by membres of a group. It testifies the belonging of a person to a group: national, ethnic, social or other, and the non-belonging of outsiders. In other words, “shibboleth” serves as a group-identity test, a verbal recognition sign.
This word originates from the bloody biblical episode cited above.

Through history and up to our very days Shibboleth tests are invented and practiced, both officially and not, for exemple as part of refugees request examinations or at the entrance of passengers to Ben Gurion Airport, to detect Arab accent in Hebrew speakers.
In this project we would like to examine and hopefully challenge the way our culture physically marks us, in such way that we carry it with us as an internal border. Sound and voice will have an important role in the the project as what is at stake in Shibboleth tests are the borders of pronunciation, the limits of our sonic abilities.  Our research is at the moment quite wide and we check different directions such as medical imagery that can trace the territories of articulations inside the oral cavity; phonetic methods and exercises of pronunciation; speech therapy; historical Shibboleths as well as personal stories of Shibboleth situations of severe consequences.
In the video we would like to concentrate on Shibboleths within the Israeli-Palestinian reality, pronunciation being a major factor when coming to discerne between Israeli jew and a Palestinian.
The event is currently envisioned as a sort of a lecture-performance with the audience being active participants. It will take place around a big table, which surface will become a negotiable territory. It will unfold through reading out loud historical and recent Shibboleth cases, making orchestrated sounds, eating and drinking Shibboleth-related food (as many of the Shibboleth words are foods), marking on the table the results of the different experiments and more.

Through history and up to our very days Shibboleth tests are invented and practiced, both officially and not, for exemple as part of refugees request examinations or at the entrance of passengers to Ben Gurion Airport, to detect Arab accent in Hebrew speakers.
In this project we would like to examine and hopefully challenge the way our culture physically marks us, in such way that we carry it with us as an internal border. Sound and voice will have an important role in the the project as what is at stake in Shibboleth tests are the borders of pronunciation, the limits of our sonic abilities.  Our research is at the moment quite wide and we check different directions such as medical imagery that can trace the territories of articulations inside the oral cavity; phonetic methods and exercises of pronunciation; speech therapy; historical Shibboleths as well as personal stories of Shibboleth situations of severe consequences.
In the video we would like to concentrate on Shibboleths within the Israeli-Palestinian reality, pronunciation being a major factor when coming to discerne between Israeli jew and a Palestinian.
The event is currently envisioned as a sort of a lecture-performance with the audience being active participants. It will take place around a big table, which surface will become a negotiable territory. It will unfold through reading out loud historical and recent Shibboleth cases, making orchestrated sounds, eating and drinking Shibboleth-related food (as many of the Shibboleth words are foods), marking on the table the results of the different experiments and more.