‘When Adar Enters’ opens with short shots of boys and girls in the streets of Bnei Brak (a religious suburb of Tel Aviv) dressed in costumes for the Purim holiday celebrations that occur during the month of Adar. The Purim holiday celebrates the rescue of the Jews in the kingdom of Ahashveros in Persia from Haman’s plot to exterminate them. It is considered a blessing to devote the Purim holiday to a feast of drinking and merriment. Throughout the video we are witness to stolen glances directed back toward the camera and hidden faces that create a sense of threat and approaching catastrophe. The exceptional presence of a camera in the religious quarter and the sense of strangeness and suspicion evoked by its very presence, despite the costumes and the carnival feeling, reveal the fear of outsiders who are taking advantage of the ultra-orthodox image.
Yael Bartana is an Israeli artist working in film, installation and photography. Her work investigates “the imagery of identity and the politics of memory.” She is perhaps best known for the film trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned, which premiered at the Polish pavilion of the 2011 Venice Biennale and explores notions of identity and nationalism inherent to the right of return. She is based in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Tel Aviv.