The Messiah Triangle
Continuing our Critical Aesthetic Series, the UAG is pleased to present an experimental film project, The Messiah Triangle, by Michael Moshe Dahan. Judaism, Christianity, Islam: three major religions whose messianic impulses have resulted in some of world history’s greatest and most violent conflicts as both religious and nationalist wars. The Messiah Triangle interrogates these conflicts through the refractive, multifaceted, diamond-like prism of one individual born at the intersection of Israel and Palestine: actor-activist Juliano Mer-Khamis. Drawing exclusively on the films, media interviews and public persona of Mer-Khamis, The Messiah Triangle is comprised of a conceptual film, Yes Repeat No, Vol. 1, and a series of large-scale lenticular stereoscopic diptychs, Life Drive / Death Drive, to pose questions about the inter-generational legacies of trauma and national identity.
Juliano Mer-Khamis (1958-2011), an internationally acclaimed actor (appearing in films such as The Little Drummer Girl (1984) and Miral (2010)), director, theater founder and activist, considered himself to be a living embodiment of the Palestine-Israel conflict. Born in Nazareth to an Anti-Zionist Jewish mother and a Palestinian Christian Communist father, Mer-Khamis, a former IDF paratrooper, defiantly identified as “100% Palestinian and 100% Jewish.” Code-switching between the conflicting identities he inhabited in Palestine and Israel, he was still viewed as an Arab in Israel and a Jew in Jenin. Mer-Khamis followed in his mother’s footsteps (as he documented in Arna’s Children (2004))and founded the Freedom Theater in Jenin in 2006, using art as a tool to foster a “cultural intifada” and demand rights for Palestinians. Just five years later, Mer-Khamis was assassinated footsteps away.
Michael Moshe Dahan is an Israeli-American scholar, filmmaker and artist who earned his MFA in Studio Art with a Critical Theory Emphasis from UC Irvine in 2012. His current work interrogates the entwined legacies of descendants of victims and perpetrators of the Nakba and considers the transmission of such phantasmatic legacies across generations. His experimental film, Two Points of Failure, was screened at the Rotterdam, Edinburgh, Jihlava, Bucharest, and Melbourne International Film Festivals, as well as the Tribeca Film Festival and the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles. Before receiving his MFA, he spent a decade working as a film executive.