“Psycho-Emotionally” Mapping Tel Aviv in New York

by Gabriela Vainsencher

Last Monday the Phaidon Store in Soho hosted an event by Artis, a nonprofit promoting Israeli art. On one side of the room was a compilation of video art pieces–footage of a naked lady lying in a pool of melons, for example. You know, art. On the other side was an interactive exhibit called Legends of Heartbreak and Epiphany in Tel Aviv by Gabriela Vainsencher, an Artis regular.

Legends… is interactive in two parts. Firstly, the artist collected various travelers’ stories of their most memorable day in Tel Aviv on her blog. Then she mapped where the stories took place as though they were spots on the ubiquitous Tel Aviv tourist maps, retelling the stories on the back. Secondly, at the event, she asked you, the guest/participant, to add your own story which she would then map for your, personalizing the piece forever. She calls the creation a “psycho-emotional map.”

You can add your story here at her blog, potentially becoming part of the next psycho-emotional printing. Or just throwing your story out there on the internet.

While I enjoyed both the concept and the execution of this project, I must admit that I became overly preoccupied with the idea that everyone at the event had been to Tel Aviv. Yes, the project was inspired by the release of a new Wallpaper City Guide (Phaidon’s travel series in both book and iPhone app form) of Tel Aviv, but couldn’t that mean that some of the guests were only planning to go? I suppose, if I really wanted to know how the project would have worked if you admitted you’d never actually been, I should have just lied, but I didn’t think of it at the time.

Photo by Joe Jagos

What do you think?

About The Author

Samuel Johnson

Sam Johnson was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, but is now an LA-based writer/director/producer. Follow him @smorganjohnson on the twitter.

3 Responses

  1. Gabriela Vainsencher

    To quench Mr. Johnson’s curiosity, I can report that about 50% of the participants in the performance I conducted had not, in fact, been to Tel Aviv. This was the first question I asked each one of them as they came up on stage to sit with me. As Mr. Johnson writes, the participants who had been to Tel Aviv shared an experience that happened in the city. If the participant had not been to Tel Aviv, I asked them what they would wish to happen to them if they did visit, what was their fantasy of the Tel Aviv experience. Based on their response, I sent them to a specific location on the map where I thought something of the sort might happen to them. For both answers, I located the point on the map where the event happened/ could happen, and then, in collaboration with the participant, made up a title for each experience. Some of these were “Where they stole your purse and I didn’t feel so bad”, “Where we kissed and I still smell salt” and “Where I will go to dance and figure some things out”.

    Gabriela Vainsencher

  2. Samuel Johnson
    Samuel Johnson

    Thank you, Ms. Vainsencher! Perhaps “Tel Aviv Fantasy Map” will be a follow up work… I’ll start:

    “Oh, this is the street corner where I witnessed the signing of a binding peace agreement between all parties in the Middle East. Then we all went to a store and STUFFED ourselves with Krembos. What a tummy ache!”

  3. Sander Postol

    I found the spot(sort of…) where my favorite Mossad agent, Gabriel Allon reports. It’s near the terrific Tel Aviv Art Museum. At the other side of town, Mike’s bar along side the U.S. embassy is where I got an unwanted lecture on English sports.


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