Michael Liani

Michael Liani

Israel, born in 1987

The tautological character of the title of this film is deceptive: the thinking behind it is far less straightforward than it might lead one to believe. Tackling the question of sexual identity as it is perceived in Eastern and Western cultures, this black-and-white piece offers a glimpse of the tension between these two very different worlds. Of Moroccan origin, Michael Liani was born and grew up in Migdal HaEmek, a small satellite town in northern Israel. As a teenager, he struck out for the “big city,” as much in a search for himself as in a bid for independence. Once in Tel Aviv, known as the “white city” owing to its sleepless nights, Liani soon found himself living in a bubble in which religions, cultures, and sexualities mix and mingle. Drawing on these experiences, he has since endeavoured through video and photography to give account of the “hybridization” he discovered in the capital. To the accompaniment of a pounding soundtrack interrupted by abrupt silences, viewers are invited to enter a cosy living-room in which every stereotype is rehearsed. Conjuring up distant memories of his family life, the short video shows three adolescents — two girls and a young boy — observing their movements as they perform an enraptured Oriental dance routine. Conforming to the female/male dichotomy thus established, the whole piece is framed around duality: between East and West, motion picture and still, music and silence… A world of division in which one still has to find a place and forge one’s authenticity.

Minshar School of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2010 – 2014
Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel, since 2014
The Open University, 2011 – 2015


Michael Liani, A.A. (Authentic Authenticity), from the series Migdal HaEmek, 2014
© Michael Liani

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