/ Hemya Moran / Photo story

The Commonlanders

During the passing year I’ve immersed myself for secluded periods of time, in the lives of people I’ve spotted in my daily surroundings and approached, having seen in them emblems of innocence and utopian living. I moved in with them, sometimes only for a few hours and more often for several days, immediately embracing and participating in their most intimate rituals, videotaping our interaction discretely and sometimes candidly.

I then came back for a second visit, this time to reenact frozen scenes extracted from the surveillance material I’ve collected. In this way I was able to facilitate the conditions that enabled me to capture the appearance of complicity between us. On several occasions, after this was done, I would suggest that we switch roles, requesting to be staged and photographed by them or their friends or relatives. With some, I’ve repeated this process once every few months. With others the encounters were brief and singular.

This process and its photographic results constitute another facet of my inquiries regarding the intimacy and authenticity of reenactment, occupying a contradictory position both distant, and involved, repulsed and attracted, belonging and alone; experiencing both empathy and a struggle for domination.

People in capitalist societies, especially postmodern societies, have replaced real ties and connections with symbols and signs. As a result, we experience the simulacra of reality instead of reality itself. In each of these captured encounters, lies a tension between existing romantic imagery, reality and reenactment. As my photographs go on to have a life of their own in the image realm, they themselves get swallowed up and incorporate into the online image bank, further complicating their slippery relationship with reality.

Hemya Moran (1985) was born in Israel. She completed her BFA in photography at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, and MA at the Royal College of Art, London. Moran received a grant from the Lepsien Art foundation and currently lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany. Her work has been exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions including Tate Britain, London, and Fresh Paint Art Fair, Tel Aviv.