“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Frederick Douglass.
We Live For Tomorrow works towards conflict resolution, social transformation and healing. The piece will be a functional children’s playground based on large-scale replicas of shrapnel (bullets and scraps of metal), which were removed from Omer’s body.
In 2000 Omer was the severely injured when a suicide bomber who detonated a 15-pound bomb while embracing him from behind. The attack left Omer unconscious for three weeks. Over ten years later, and still suffering from PTSD, Omer and his partner Tal Golan learned the power of engaging people in conflict resolution through art when they participated in an exchange with Palestinian and Israeli artists in Palestine where they all spoke about their relationships between the conflict and their artistic practices. Omer and Tal took what they learned and have created new pieces of work inspired by that extraordinary experience.
We Live For Tomorrow is about acceptance, hope and healing. The playground intends to teach those who see and experience it that transformation is the only way to move forward from memories of suffering and trauma – by learning from Omer’s personal experiences. Omer kept the shrapnel that was removed from his body following the attack. After years of turning these metal pieces over in his hand he saw that they began to be transformed from objects of violence into objects of play – they began to resemble merry-go-rounds, slides and seesaws – and We Live For Tomorrow began to develop. The playground will be a place where children can play and enjoy themselves. As they do so the energy created will cause the rides to light up turning structures that were once associated with horror into things of fantasy and beauty.
The concept behind the project is the idea that if we take objects that trigger a traumatic response in our minds and turn them into something that we engage with regularly then, eventually, the cycle will be broken and the object will be associated with something more positive. We Live For Tomorrow uses Omer’s personal trigger object but the concept is always timely and relevant. Today it could be related to issues of gun control, 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and more.
Through our artistic process we have looked to discover the creative potential of the trigger objects and visualization is a major part of processing this idea of transformation.
We have created videos and images of space travel through mysterious constellations where, in fact, the constellations are made from the shrapnel that remains inside Omer’s body. X-rays allow us to clearly see hundreds of tiny fragmented metallic pieces and force us to think about the nature of foreign objects and how our bodies accept or reject them. This exploratory process also lead us to think about the concept of re-appropriation – how could the objects be used differently?
Dealing with trauma is a physical and mental journey. This project is not just about conflict but about healing.
Our hope is that this process of transforming traumatic objects in to positive symbols of change will be studied, replicated and create social change around the world.
omta: OMTA are Tal & Omer Golan, contemporary new-media and visual artists duo. OMTA have exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in festivals, galleries and museums worldwide. Many of their artworks were commissioned by private collectors and institutions, like the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Bank Leumi in Israel. OMTA are presently living in NYC and are immersed in generating multiple forms of digital arts, while exploring innovative and transformative ideas in art, technology and society.