About the book
The medium is the message in this playful and philosophical trans-media crossover book about smartphones, language, photography and war. Rita Leistner, who is a graduate of the International Center of Photography in New York (2000) and has an MA in comparative literature from the University of Toronto (1990), uses the optics of literary criticism to create a bridge between the literary and the photographic, between writing and “writing with light,” to propose a theory toward understanding this moment in history when smartphones and war first collide. The initial photography and fieldwork for the book was made when Leistner was embedded with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan in 2011 as a team member of the American Military-approved social media initiative Basetrack. The experience left Leistner feeling empty and depressed: “I arrived home from Afghanistan with a smartphone full of photographs and a bad case of the blues. Looking for McLuhan, who I knew almost nothing about, began as a kind of prophylactive therapy to keep me from sliding into full-blown depression. It ended in a strangely healing journey of process and discovery.” Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan sheds light on old and new technologies, on a failed war, and on some of the things that connect us as humans.
About the film
MIKLAT (the Hebrew word for shelter or asylum) is an anti-war film and photographic installation consisting of hundreds of photographs of bomb shelters, portraits and interviews made in Israel in 2012. MIKLAT is a metaphor of personal, formal, political and geographic boundaries, raising questions about how we look upon “the other” inside and outside the frames of our “dream landscapes.”
Miklat (Shelter) is part of an on-going multi-media project called Portraitscapes of War: Landscape and Identity in the Levant (Lebanon, Israel, Palestine). The film has screened at festivals in the U.S., Canada and France and won an Award of Excellence from the Best Shorts Competition. The film will be screened alongside the debut solo exhibition of the photographs at the Galleries of the University of Beer Sheva in Israel from January to April 2015.