Dani Gal, born in Jerusalem in 1975, lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Bezalel Academy for Art and Design in Jerusalem, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule in Frankfurt and at Cooper Union in New York. His films and works have been shown widely, including the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, the Istanbul Biennale in 2011, New Museum New York in 2012, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, CH in 2013, the Jewish Museum New York in 2014, Berlinale Forum Expanded in 2014, Kunsthaus Zürich in 2015, Kunsthalle Wien in 2015, documenta 14 in 2017, and Centre Pompidou in 2018.
Historical Records by Dani Gal is an ongoing project of collecting commercially released vinyl records that document political events of the twentieth century.
Night and Fog
Commissioned for the 54. Venice Biennale
Camera: Itay Marom
Production: Jonathan Dowek
On 11 April 1961, the trial of Adolf Eichmann began. He was tried in an Israeli court and charged for committing crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was convicted and executed by hanging on 31 May 1962. On a night, between 31 May and the 01 June 1962 shortly after the execution and the cremation of the body, a group of police officers sailed on a boat six miles off the shores of Jaffa port. Their mission was to scatter Eichmann’s ashes into the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The purpose of the highly secret mission was to ensure that there could be no future memorial and that no nation would serve as his final resting place. Based on an interview Dani Gal made with Michael Goldman, a Holocaust survivor who was one of the policemen on the boat, the film re-enacts the scene of the group of policemen sailing on a dark foggy night with Eichmann’s ashes in a jug of milk.
As from Afar
Camera: Emre Erkmen
Production: Caroline Kirberg
A fictionalized account of Wiesenthal and Speer’s meetings, that uses dialogue based on their letters. Speer first wrote to Wiesenthal in 1974 after his release from prison, in an effort to accept some responsibility for his war crimes. His public admission of his moral misconduct impressed Wiesenthal, and they began a correspondence that lasted until the early 1980s. Despite their profoundly contrasting personal histories, they shared common interests—both were trained architects and successful authors. They pursued their unlikely friendship despite controversy and occasionally visited each other. Gal takes this strange relationship as a starting point for a meditation on how historical events are recalled, recorded, and distorted.
Fields of Neutrality
(The Last Interview with Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe)
Camera: Itay Marom
Production: Dani Gal and Caroline Kirberg
Commissioned by Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
Commissioned by Staatsgalerie Stuttgart on the occasion of the Bauhaus centennial, this staged television-style interview with Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe depicts the architect late in his life, confronted with his time as the final Bauhaus director, and his refusal to take a political stance amid pressure from the newly established Nazi government and communist students. The interviewer confronts Mies about his unwillingness to take a political position amid pressure both from communist students and the newly established Nazi government. Focussing on the events that led to the closure of the Bauhaus by the Gestapo in 1933, including Mies’s meeting with Alfred Rosenberg, his meeting with a young Gestapo officer in an attempt to keep the Bauhaus open under the Nazi regime; and his interest to continue his practice in Germany, the film questions cultural notions of modern architecture as an aesthetic reflection of progressive humanistic values. By examining the nature of the relationship between Mies and the Nazis, insight is gained not only into the climate of the last days of the Bauhaus and its clash with fascist forces, but also into historic and contemporary principles of morality.
The New Terrorism
The New Terrorism is an educational kit for American schools from the 1970s. It consists of a strip of photo slides, a one-sided record, a booklet and a game. Using examples of current affairs at the time, the kit was used to teach high school kids about the threat of terrorism. For the work, the film strip was recorded with a video recorder and the footage slowed so the slide show would match the exact length of the album. When played simultaneously the two resources do not synchronize. This de-synchronization interrupts and suspends the viewer’s reading of the footage. The meaning of the document escapes its original educational- and sensational-intention and the process of creating certain historical narratives becomes evident.
Camera: Itay Marom
Production: pong film
On 16 August 1933 Arthur Ruppin wrote the following entry in his diary: “Through Dr. Georg Landauer I travelled to Jena on August 3rd to meet Prof. Hans F. K. Günther, the founder of National-Socialist race theory. The conversation lasted two hours. Günther was most congenial but refused to accept credit for coining the Aryan-concept, and agreed with me that the Jews are not inferior but different, and that the Jewish Question has to be solved justly.”
The film revolves around the complex character of Arthur Ruppin (1876 – 1943), one of the founders of the Zionist Settlement who promoted coexistence with the Palestinians before the establishment of the state of Israel. Ruppin was also an enthusiastic researcher of the science of race, which explains his motive in paying a visit to Hans F.K. Günther (1891 – 1968), the German race researcher and eugenicist who later became a major influence on National Socialist racial thought.
The film shows Ruppin as he visits the Weissenhof Estate, a neighborhood in Stuttgart famous for its modern architecture style, and experiences flashbacks which reflect his views. The monologues and dialogues within this film are based mainly on Ruppin’s diaries.
Interview with Dani Gal
Historical Records is an ongoing project by Dani Gal of collecting commercially released vinyl records that document political events of the twentieth century.