Trance: an Audio-Visual Exhibit Sparks Intercultural Dialogue in NY

May 23, 2003

Source: The Jewish Week

On May 23, 2003 The Jewish Week reported that "the shop down the block from the Eldridge Street Synagogue specializes in fish balls, not matzah balls, and the closest house of worship is the Pechau Buddhist temple. But the Lower East Side [NY] still reverberates with the energy and concerns of a century ago, when Russian Jewish immigrants built the neighborhood synagogue... Gluck and composer Basya Schechter roamed the streets surrounding the shul, charting what they call 'a topography of memory and community.' The result is 'Trance,' an installation of seven audio-visual exhibits that weave together snippets of the neighborhood’s Chinese and Jewish street life... While 'Trance' takes visitors on a virtual exploration of the Lower East Side, it also leads them on a tour of the historic sanctuary itself... The high point of 'Trance' is found on the bima. A pair of video monitors shows close-ups of two elderly people, a Jewish woman and a Chinese man, filmed in soundless slow motion as they speak to the camera. The lovingly rendered portraits offer viewers a chance to contemplate the textural effects of age and the magic of expression. At certain points, the faces seem nearly indistinguishable... When 'Trance' opened late last month, two monks from the Pechau temple came to see the installation, Gluck said... Sparking such intercultural conversations was the point of the project, said Gluck, who hopes to replicate 'Trance' elsewhere in the city."