Lower East Side, New York … On Wednesday April 30 from 6pm to 8pm, the Eldridge Street Project will premiere Trance, a site-specific art installation by filmmaker Pearl Gluck and musician Basya Schechter. Using fragments of lived experience from the landmark Eldridge Street Synagogue and its surrounding historic neighborhood, Trance is a sound and video installation that breaks boundaries and sparks cross cultural dialogue between the Asian and Jewish communities on the Lower East Side.
Through oral history interviews, video footage from the neighborhood, and spiritual and secular sound fragments, Trance will take the viewer on a conceptual journey through this historic house of worship, pausing along the way to pay tribute to the many people who have moved through and around this landmark site. Revealing itself gradually via hidden sound and video-scapes, the installation will utilize single-channel film monitors, speakers and individual head-sets so that each journey is uniquely experienced. Breaking boundaries between inside and out, past and present, their new work will seek to redefine the topography of memory and community, blending the architectural space with the worlds it inhabits.
Pearl Gluck is a filmmaker.Her feature documentary, DIVAN, premieres at the Tribeca FilmFestival in May, 2003. (www.divan-thecouch.com)
Basya Schechter is a musician. She founded Pharaoh's Daughter and her work includes EXILE (2003) and OUT OF THE REEDS (2001). (www.pharaohsdaughter.com)
There is no charge for admission to the art opening on Wednesday April 30th. There will be a suggested donation of $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors to see the installation during tour hours (Sundays between 11 and 4, Tuesdays and Thursdays at two designated times: 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM,) or when visiting by appointment.
Directions: The Eldridge Street Synagogue is located at 12 Eldridge Street (between Canal and Division Streets), a short walk from the East Broadway stop on the F line, the Canal Street stop on the #15 bus, and the East Broadway and Market Street stop on the #9 bus.
ELDRIDGE STREET PROJECT:
Completed in 1887, Eldridge Street was the first great house of worship built in the United States by Eastern European Jews. The landmark structure symbolizes the experience of countless newcomers to America who have grappled with the tension between cultural continuity and change. The not-for-profit Eldridge Street Project was established in 1986 to restore the Synagogue, now a National Historic Landmark, to its original grandeur, without destroying the poignant reminders of its founders' century-long presence; and to interpret the site with arts and education programs that breathe fresh life into the building.
BIOGRAPHIES OF THE ARTISTS:
Ten years after leaving her native Borough Park, Brooklyn, Pearl Gluck received a Fulbright grant to collect oral histories from Yiddish speakers in areas of Hungary once home to thriving Hasidic communities. Divan, her debut feature documentary, was born out of this experience, and will world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2003. Although she broke from her traditional past, Pearl Gluck continues to draw from her rich Hasidic heritage and through her current work seeks to provide both a bridge to the past and a form of cross-communal dialogue through the arts. She co-directed the award-winning short, Great Balls of Fire, that continues to screen worldwide. She has spearheaded community arts programs, and curated literary and film events from Hungary to Israel to New York City, and has just returned from an artist residency at the Paideia Institute in Stockholm.
Basya Schechter, also a New York native, graduated from Barnard College and went on to write, record and produce her own music both independently and with her band, Pharaoh's Daughter. Drawing on the musical inspirations of her Orthodox Jewish upbringing, as well as her extensive travels to the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South America, Schechter's work has been critically received and has won her grants from the American Composer Forum and the Composer Commissioning Program (of which she is the 2002 recipient for Trance.) Pharaoh's Daughter have toured extensively in Europe and the US and their third album 'Exile,' which blends Torah chanting with Armenian melodies and Middle Eastern arrangements, was released last spring. Schechter recently recorded two compilation CD's with John Zorn's Tzadik label, and has just finished producing an album for her father entitled Shul Days.