There´s No One in My Home
A Film by Lena Zaidel, 2012
Concept and Art Direction: Lena Zaidel
3D Animation: Alexander Popov
The animated film of Michael Gendelev´s poem was translated from Russian to Hebrew by Lena Zaidel.
From Hebrew to English by Uta Gabay and Yehoshua Yair.
There´s No One in My Home
My incentive for making this video was the voice that is heard in the empty spaces of the house as it roams around the rooms, leaving its impression as the words appear on the walls.
In my working on this video, I aspired to emphasize the connection between the poetic text and its visual expression and to transform the text and the image into one integral unit. The “unit” that was thus formed constitutes for me a sort of writing in the air, composed of shapes, lines, sound vibrations and content.
I also attribute great importance to the new connections (visual/cultural/political) that are formed between the videos as they are screened successively in different languages.
Gendelev´s Spheric Mirror
Working on the translation of these poems inevitably forced me to take a penetrating look at Gendelev´s poetry and poetic world. In order to understand how Gendelev should be “heard” and “played” in Hebrew, I had to experience his poems and poetic world. And in order to experience this, I had to identify the poet´s vantage point and discover his position. In other words, in order to discover the place from which Gendelev beheld the world with his poetic vision, I had to search for his perspective, his point of observation.
During this journey of exploration, I discovered that he looks from virtually every possible angle. His point of view revolves around whatever he is observing. He contemplates everything in view from an infinite number of angles, constantly changing his perspective. The unique phenomenon of his way of seeing is especially evident in this text:
THERE IS NO ONE
IN MY HOME.
THEY ARE NOT THERE,
AND NOT BECAUSE I AM ALONE,
BUT THEY ARE NOWHERE,
IN BED WE LIE
SLEEPING TIME FOR YOU AND I,
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF DREAM LAND.
(From the Cycle:
The Second Home-land
Translation from Hebrew:
Uta Gabay, Yehoshua Yair)
It seems that this text is referring not to one single situation, but to several situations taking place simultaneously. Each situation takes form in a specific time and space but they become intertwined and interwoven with each other as they evolve. A first reading of the text might give the impression that it is speaking about a situation that can easily be imagined: the author, while still alive, is roaming about in his vacated home, turning his thoughts to his absent beloved, with a quite mysterious offer to lie down “on the other side of dream land.” Yet, we could just as well assume that it is the voice of the poet´s beloved that is echoing through the text, and she too, just as he (or simultaneously, together with him), is roaming about in the desolate home and turning her attention to the absent or deceased poet.
Another interpretation is that the author is not addressing his beloved at all, but his spirit/metaphysical double. Both – the double and the author – are still here, on this side of sleep. However, they are about to disappear in a moment -initially to be only “covered in sand,” but ultimately to be “nowhere, anywhere,” carried away perhaps together with the sand dunes on their bed. And Gendelev´s bed is never just some ordinary bed. His bed is always made of stone. Just as when contemplating anything else he observes, Gendelev beholds the bed from both sides of existence. The sheets on his bed are always twin size; he always spreads the sheets for two – for life and for death, which sleep together on the same bed. His bed is simultaneously and always a nuptial bed and a gravestone.
But the best interpretation in my opinion is that the text is echoing the voice of the living and breathing author who is no more. His living voice is addressed to his deceased double. To his “deceased” home. There is nothing left, and no one is there…. No one – “anywhere.” Now Gendelev contemplates the walls of his former home by means of the sounds that echo from the “other side.” His voice, which is simultaneously also his beholding, is focused first and foremost toward the center, inwardly, to the poet himself, who exists on both sides of dream land.