Hagar Ophir is a Jerusalem-born and Berlin-based artist.
She is a performer and visual researcher whose works examine constructions of historical narrative and national identity through the choreography of bodies.
Selected Works 2020 (PDF)
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Research as Performance 2019
Toward an Academic evaluation committee of Department III directed by Dagmar Schäfer at the Max-Plank Institution for the history of science, I created a play in collaboration with and performed by 10 members of the department - senior researchers and Postdoc fellows, titled: Artifacts, Action, Knowledge. The work consists of a conceptual play based on their academic report and researchers presentations, using their practical research actions and the artefacts histories. The performance took place at the Harnack-house Berlin, January 2019
Parts of the prologue of Research as Performance:
Artefacts, Action, and Knowledge
Department III Director Dagmar Schäfer
Prologue <Slide # 1on>
The Director- Dagmar [reading the quote]:
Although different in color and kind, lead, when participating in vermillion making , can function as the colour vermillion. One has to grasp its “inner working” (shu?).
Therefore, that which can be said/known is not effectuated by intricate formula and elegant phrases.
Simply test the causes and that is that” Marianna: Huainanzi Writings of the Masters,
South of the Huai River, 2nd century BCE Dagmar: In the following 50 minutes.…
[Dept III stands up from their seats and moves to stage]
Dagmar:We follow how people through the centuries up until more recent times imagined such ways of working, people such as Robert Hommel who in the early twentieth century took photos of processes such as dyeing for his book China at Work, attributing such inner workings mainly to the domaines of craft, technology, and the everyday.
our aim is to develop a historical epistemology of action.
Dept I I I:[ repeat the sentence one after another in a canon]:
Wilko & Marianna: historical epistemology of action.
Tamar & Shehab: historical epistemology of action.
Alexis & Edna: historical epistemology of action.
Dagmar: Our research agenda has three entry points:
[reading without a pause]
Dagmar: Five senior researchers support the organization …
Shehab: What kind of work is it to make “knowledge”?
Edna: Knowledge-making is work for brain and brawn.
By emphasizing the physical side,
Lisa: beyond the written traces of practices and the material remnants of products, to grasp the “inner workings” (shu?) that the Huainanzi speaks about.
Alexis: our aim is to push the historical analysis of what and how people knew
Sonja: We look into the varying conceptual roles of “action” as “knowing”
Shih-Pei: What “knowledge” inhabits the Huainanzi’s myriads of things, such as plants, ghosts,
Lisa: As historians of science, we study the artifacts of human action and thought.
Marianna: We study them as sources, as mediators, and as products of scientific and technological change.
Tamar: We search for human histories in their material components
Wilko: Hence, it is important to ask how people make things work.
Edna: how they organize processes, through management, infrastructures organizational forms,
Wilko: or systemic choices.
Alexis: by looking, for instance, at the judgments and decision-making when drawing relations, as those are
judgments and decisions that impact what counts as knowledge and how it counts.
<Slide #1 off>
<Black Slide on>
[Sound of the sea, Wilko walks in the center of the room slowly towards the front stage all DEPT
III speed around the room, some of them are standing, some walking and others are seating in the
Text for the Time Travelers in Palestine
(Underwood & Underwood)
Exhibition curated by Issam Nassar and Ariella Azoulay
More info more info more info more info more info more info more info more info more info more info more info more info more info more info
The gloomy light in the cave somehow mitigated the blistering sun outside. Esther stepped silently into the well, where she encounters a woman who strikes her as the young Rachel. The woman’s eyes were attracted to her reflection in the water, as if she hoped to grasp something of the hellish nightmare that haunted her last night. Esther was unsettled by the icons posed on the cave’s walls. She sat nearby her, asking for her name and offering some dates and a lukewarm tea.
They tasted the dates and drank the tea. Esther broke the silence and asked: “are you here to contemplate?” Her question awakened a ghost from the bottom of the well. Through his voice they knew that without knowing each other, they were hit by the same vision. The voice wanes off, but the well remains seeped with horror. The women’s bewilderment and shock were interrupted by the entrance of a tall European man with a camera on his back. The young woman whispered to Esther: “I know this guy. I have guided him to this place, looking for the event of photography to take place.”
“Shall we start?” the photographer asked sternly.
The young woman nodded in compliance. Without saying a word, Esther held tightly the woman’s hand, and walked out. When the sound of the flash puffed, she was already on her way, on the back of a donkey praying that the flashing light will magically exorcise the horrific vision from the young women’s eyes. Years after Esther’s death, and the death of her daughter Malka, her grandson, Joshua, my grandfather, sat on November 16th in his armchair not far away from the city of Yaffa and read in the newspaper, with some pride mixed with compassion, though not without repulsion, about a man with quite ordinary ideas, who entered Jacob’s Well and, smashed with an axe the skull of a Hegumen. In the name of god.
It Is Only Through Your That I Can Remember
Who I Am
An Exhibition in Three Acts
Theatre of Operations: Hakim Bishara & Hagar Ophir
It Is Only Through Your Thoughts that I Can Remember Who I Am reimagines the story of L’Art moderne au Liban into a theatrical exhibition in three acts. Madame M.S, a mysterious Lebanese painter who was one of the participating artists in the 1943 exhibition, is conjured up from the archive to recount the tale of her time through imagined and recreated environments that combine text, image, light and sound.
Bergen, Octobre-December 2017
ACT I: SEEKING MADAME M.S.
Link Link Link
EPILOGUE: SAINT GEORGES PREVAILS
Link Link Link
SOUND WORKS: Miriam Schickler
LIGHTING AND PROGRAMMING: Rachid Moro
SET DESIGN: Studio Martha Schwindling
RESEARCHER IN FRANCE Ellie Armon Azoulay RESEARCHER IN BEIRUT Stephanie d‘Arc Taylor
The exhibition was curated by Sissel Lillebostad and Trond Hugo Haugen in collaboration with Malin Barth. The exhibition is part of Vågestykke — a series of time-limited artworks 2016-2018 at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) by KORO - Public Art Norway.
Debriefing Session II
I First performed Debriefing II: July 2015
Location: Artport, Tel Aviv. As part of Non Finito, Artport’s third year residency exhibition.
Training local agents (performers) and performing as Public Movement Agent at the opening section: June - October 2016: Guggenheim Museum, New York
As part of the exhibition But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa.
Curator: Sara Raza
Activating Public Movement Agents: Amir Farjoun, Ruth Patir
Head of research and performing as Public Movement Agent: October - December 2015: Tel Aviv Museum of Art. As part of Public Movement durational exhibition, National Collection.
Head of research and performing as Public Movement Agent: October 2015: Spielart Festival, Munich
Location: Villa Stuck Museum
Performing as Public Movement Agent October, November 2018: Debriefing Session Visetamarstudio, as part of Publice Movement solo exhibition Temporary Orders Vistamarstudio, Milan.
TelAviv Museum - Performing as public movement agent
SpielArt Munich - Performing as public movement agent
Guggenheim NYC - Performer conductor and performing the Agent for the prevue and opening action
Vaistamar Studio Milan - performing as Public Movement Agent
Santarcangelo festival - Action leader, performers conductor and performing as the English speaking public movement Agent
Taanit; Civil Fast 2012
A 24 hours performance centred around a contentious ceremony that can be repeated over and over again in city squares and public spaces worldwide. Civil Fast was taken place as an independent 24 hours action on Davidka square,West Jerusalem, December 2012.
Action Director and Concept Development together with: Saar Szekely as part of Public Movement, Coordinator: Ma'ayan Choresh Public Movement members creative performers: Ma'ayan Choresh, Jad Jamal Kaadan, Meshi Olinky, Hagar Ophir, Saar Szekely, Public Movement Artistic director: Dana Yahalomi
Links to Academic essays:
The Performative Return: Israeli and Palestinian Site-Specific Re-enactments
Daphna Ben-Shaul New Theatre Quarterly / Volume 32 / Issue 01 / February 2016, pp 31 - 48
The City Square in the Performance of Taanit: From Rabbinic Space to Contemporary Jerusalem*
Yair Lipshitz Tel Aviv University Journal of Levantine Studies Vol. 5, No. 1, Summer 2015, pp. 59-81