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Alma Shneor, ReflectOr



Nostalgia for a Very Short Present


“If we examine ourselves at a certain moment – at the present moment – ignoring the past and the

future, then we are innocent. At this very moment, we can be none other than what we are: every form

of progress assumes the existence of duration. The very nature of the world is that we will be, at this

very moment, who we are.”*


That which is innocent is also that which is here and now, complete, with no residual traces. The basis

of the act of seeing, the touching of light particles on the present object and returning as an absence;

that which the object rejects. However, it can also be said that they return as abundance; whatever the

object is full of – returns. And behold, all the abundance of a blink of an eye is conveyed. An image

appears. A present that has come to an end.


In this exhibition, Alma Shneor examines the most fundamental workings of sight, and thus the

appearance of the image, the return of light. As she leaves the photographic apparatus behind, Shneor

embarks on an inquiry into the emergence of the trace, the residue of the encounter. How can light be

separated light from light? How will the image disclose the material on which it is impressed? Scanned

images, material images, and projected images inhabit the exhibition space, embodying the tension

between residue, addition and difference.


The “Light Scans” series explores the collision of static vertical light of a hand holding a flashlight

with the horizontal moving light of the scanner. The traces of this short encounter float in the darkened

space of the machine. In contrast to the demand for total visibility, Shneor acts on the scanner, dazzling

to the point of tears, and forces it to produce images for her, images that abandon their function as

transmitters of information. The blind spot, the burned zone, gives the brass back its nobility as a

golden emergence.


It was Balzac who said, in arguing against photography, that human beings are composed of layers

upon layers of illusory images. Each time a person is photographed, a single leaf-thin layer is removed.

In the world’s current state of affairs, we should all have been transparent by now. The likeness so

often discussed between photography and nature is echoed in the leaf-heart, beating alongside two

women that lose their own likeness. One of them falls away endlessly, in an up-and-down motion that

recalls the movement of the scanner. The other is removed as a Xerox image until she disappears,

tossed from the positive image to the negative image according to a pattern whose contours and

regularities elude us.


Two layers of sound flicker in the background, the words “Yes” and No”, which cancel each other out

when they are placed in the space* together and which are read as one uncompromising electronic bit.

The pacemaker, stuttering what cannot be expressed through language, as though it were seeking to

resuscitate the enlightened subject, who is gradually being removed; the same subject who never grew

accustomed to knowing itself in the dark.


And what remains that is not an image?


A model for a city, twice-faded; pieces of Plexiglas that were found as residual materials of a factory

and then processed for their new role as light-casters. A necropolis of shapes and colors. Three clocks

keep its time. The clocks’ second hands, which became firmly fixed in place while floating in the optic

space of the scan, will forever seek to undermine the hegemonic aspiration for clarity. Both the fluid

time and the decisive moment are bent to their will, forced to inhabit them together. The illusion of

coordination has shattered.

The aluminum boards, on which blank scans were printed, ask the viewer to distinguish between light

residue and material, between the digital dirt and the rough material. To give all due respect to the

scanned error, to the absence of form, to the emptiness that evaporates in the course of a short present.


Shiraz Greenbaum, 2013.


*From: “Gravity and Grace”, Simone Weil.

*Inspired by a saying by Moshe Gershoni: “I want to say yes and no in one word, but there is no such possibility in language” (From: “Moshe Gershoni Concludes 40 Years of Work” by Eli Armon Azulai, Haaretz 7.17.2009).








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