2010, Dual-Screen HD Video, Stereo Sound. 20 min.
The launching point for Cover Version is a tale of ninety-three Jewish girls and women, aged 14 to 22, who were captured and detained in Poland during World War II. Anticipating their rape and murder by Nazi soldiers, they chose to commit mass suicide. The story of this atrocity, ostensibly revealed by a letter that one of the women wrote in captivity, was reported in the New York Times in 1943. For years, the women were celebrated as models of Jewish resistance, and streets throughout Israel were named after them. Although the veracity of the letter and its account were discredited in the 1970s, the tale remains a powerful legend.
Evron hired four writers to pen “cover versions” of the original letter, as well as five actresses to recite the new texts. The video is divided into two channels. In the first, the original letter is heard, followed by the actresses delivering the newly scripted versions. These narratives are confessional reflections on their lives to date, as well as contemplations of their mortality and the legacies they will leave behind. The presence of the actresses and the artist in a contemporary recording studio makes the fictitious nature of the re-telling transparent. The video’s second channel presents scenes of urban life, with a focus on the streets named to commemorate the ninety-three female martyrs, addressing the important role the discredited tale continues to play in Israeli and Jewish identity.
As in so many of his works, here Evron questions what is real and what is false, and questions if that distinction always makes a difference. (LR)