About

Ersatz Israel is a hyper-tale; a web-designed substitute for an actual travel to the Holy Land. Eretz Israel (Hebr. the land) is a construct. Ersatz Israel is an imitation of the construct. Kludgy but conclusive. Fragmented but not detached.

It is a travel that happens here and now. Here, in the net of 33 clickable lexias. Now, in the Present Tense tales that intersect with each other.

I provide the material. You are free to choose the links, to return to previous tales, to proceed to next lexias. You are free - unless you get stuck behind the Wall.

Once in the Ersatz, you have no way out. No external links are provided. No instant reference to Wikipedia explanations, Merriam-Webster definitions or YouTube videos. Web provides instant literallness. Ersatz Israel does not support any form of Factualism. Actually, we support all the changing forms of Actualism, whatever that actually means.

The starting point is a sample of touristic adware. However, once you depart, you will see no hierarchy of tales. Treat is as a cloud of equal links, a rhizome made of democratic tissue. This site does not grant a privilege to any lexias. It renounces any form of Armbinden.

Any representation represents the exclusion of others. Ersatz Israel is a spectacle, a pageant of political choices and speculations; an attempt to manage the media coverage, the popular image of the state. In 1991 Jean Baudrillard claimed that "The Gulf War Did Not Take Place." In 2015 we claim that Israel as you know it is artificial. There is nothing like one Israel. There are countless images of it.

This fragmentalization is reflected in the form of the project. It consists of short anecdotes by various, often anonymous, speakers. The focalization changes indiscriminately. But which narrative will dominate the others?

The narrative is built by the decisions of the reader. Thus the structure reflects the reader's interests. Will the reader come back home or end in the Palestine Authority? The ending is open. However, just like in Israel, all the choices carry an ethical weight.

The textual aspect of the project is based on communication breakdown. Usually the speaker addresses a person that misunderstands the point. Oftentimes it's the reader who is confused. Both turn out to be misfits. Who belongs to this land?

The words, written and drawn, are random, misheard, out of context. These 'found objects' create a new, poetical quality of the narrative. They 'estrange' and provide a new meaning. In the Ersatz, a rain may become a war. A spiritual adventure may turn out to be a Jewish messiah in the risk of being mistaken for the Christian.

The most prevalent form of distantiation in the project is joking. The humour sits in the blurred, often unnoticed details. Why is 'speaking Jewish' a pun? What is funny about 'falafel' being a Hebrew word? These details puncture the artificial, easy media package of Israel.

The project is short and image-heavy so it wins over a 3-minute attention span. However, in spite of the mass audience appeal, there is an undertone. The tales are condensed, twisted, and telescoped. They offer no explanation. They are not an easy short-cut, a flash insight into Israel.

All the visual material belongs to the author. It is a mixed-media set of pictures, drawings, and scans. This technique of collage goes along with the goal of the project: to show Israel as inconsistent and diverse. To unpack the media product.

Everyone has an opinion about the Jewish State, the Palestinian conflict, a two-state solution, the Holocaust, peace in the world, a war in the Middle East. Now you can have the last word!

Ola Wasilewska