Mindful of the exhibition’s goal to serve as a metaphor for approaching the many facets of a contested city divided by occupation and segregation, “The Breakup” considers the intricacies of The Beatles’ 1969 breakup as an example of a collaborative cultural phenomena that over time stops functioning and reaches a point where negotiation fails as a tactic and communication is halted. How does this happen? What can be learned? The central part of the multi-event public project is a ten-part radio program that will air on Ramallah-based Radio Amwaj (92.3 FM). Here The Beatles’ breakup will be dissected from the more than 100 hours of tapes generated during the filming of “Let It Be” to gain insight into the moment when enlightenment gave way to collapse, and to understand the feelings of isolation and alienation sustained at the time by both Paul McCartney and John Lennon. The project will culminate with a recreation of The Beatles’ final rooftop concert—but on a roof in Jerusalem in 2010 instead of London in 1969, with some of the new and former members of local Arabic music ensemble, Sabreen. An LP and a CD of the concert will be released in Palestine; the list of songs, on the album cover, will function as poetry, a demand for something that does not function to be fixed, for a dream denied to finally be realized:
Two of Us
The Long and Winding Road
Don’t Let Me Down
Let It Be
Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973, New York) is an artist based in Chicago and New York City. In 1998 he initiated paraSITE, an ongoing project in which the artist custom builds inflatable shelters for homeless people that attach to the exterior outtake vents of a building’s heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system. His work has appeared in venues worldwide including P.S.1, MoMA, MassMOCA, Castello di Rivoli, the 16th Biennale of Sydney, the 10th Istanbul Biennial, Sharjah Biennial 8, Tirana Biennale, National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt, and Transmediale 05. He has had solo exhibitions at Lombard-Freid Projects in New York, Tate Modern in London, and Stadtturmgalerie/Kunstraum Innsbruck. His public project, “Return,” was presented by Creative Time in New York in 2006. He is the recipient of a 2008 Creative Capital Grant for “Dark Turquoise,” a collaboration with artist Emna Zghal; a Sharjah Biennial Jury Award; a 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant in Architecture and Environmental Structures; the 2003 Dena Foundation Award, and the 2002 Design 21 Grand Prix from UNESCO. Upcoming solo shows include Basis voor Actuele Kunst (BAK) in Utrecht, Netherlands. Rakowitz is an Associate Professor in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University.