Photography of a cemetery is a sort of tautology in the sense that a photograph itself is a kind of entombment, the freezing of time, that which marks what was once alive but is no longer. Photography absorbs the world, or perhaps it always appears to be a kind of empty, 'objective' consciousness of death. After all, while the photograph shows what was alive, at the same time it freezes that which cannot escape transience, substitution, finiteness. Measuring time for graves, for the dead, for those who have already achieved ‘eternity,’ is a kind of mockery of the dead, or self-irony of the living artist or the viewer.
The graves themselves, an everlasting residence, their absolute silence, bareness and architectural simplicity are also tautological, duplicating the dust and ashes that replace the body. The digital chronometer is also a tautology of itself – the numbers change, the time that ‘passes’ accumulates, but nothing is gained, it is only the totaling of units of nothing.
Using a digital chronometer to shoot footage of a cemetery is, therefore, a tautology of a tautology of a tautology. Ostensibly, the artist here is absurd; he spends his limited ‘time’ mesmerized in observation of a death machine that replicates itself, and transforms the artist into an active and wide-eyed partner like Paul Klee’s “Angelus Novus,” the Angel of History (Walter Benjamin).
But, suddenly, into the ‘frame’ (for photography is like the grave, it is a ‘frame’ of ‘time’ that has passed), living people, individual yeshiva students, enter. They approach a specific grave and prostrate themselves before it with a motion that connects mortality - the living and the dead - to the endlessness of the universe, of space and time.
Suddenly, in an absurd artistic act that is imprisoned in a replication of itself, like a gaping crack in reality, a doubled and multiplied inversion is created, the soulless gaze of the camera, the mechanical replication of the frame that mimics the replication of the chrono-techno-metric seconds, disrupted by the strange, unrealistic and absurd replication of the living who come to ‘seek guidance’ from the dead, the positive within the negative.
Albert Suisa (novelist, art critic and curator)