How Artist Alona Rodeh Reveals the Tyranny of Safety


by Hili Perlson, Frieze, February 28, 2019

Here, Rodeh and her long-time technical collaborator, Rachid Moro, constructed an environment that destabilizes the viewer’s autonomy through light and darkness. Four pairs of sculptures cut through the length of the exhibition space, while white light studs delineate lanes, much like on a motorway or landing strip. A looped 7-minute choreography in which the changing conditions of light emitted from the sculptures and a droning soundscape created by a much amplified electric hum render the installation as said performer-less performance. A familiar risk is lurking; the titular dark times can easily be invoked through a state of emergency. The work hints at the tyranny of safety and the potentially devastating cost of security.

The loop’s pitch dark moments undercut the illusion of safety. Given today’s light pollution, the condition of complete darkness is unnatural for city dwellers. Darkness either marks instances of chaos, such as a menacing blackout, or is attainable solely in controlled environments, such as an art space, black box or a club’s sex-positive dark rooms.

This piece shows the opposite end of the spectrum of the topic of my thesis. Instead of using light to comfort and create a sense of safety, the light, and sound pattern that is used is meant to disorient the viewer and destroy ones sense of security. It’s good to know how certain things effect people differently to try to avoid the negative implications in my work, or to use them to my advantage.