Emma Geliot's picture

 courtesy of the artist. Michal Cole, 'Mute-Ululation' (installation view), 2015. The Pavilion of Humanity at the 56th Venice Biennale. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Michal Cole presents her site-specific video installation, Mute-Ululation at Ex Bazzi Gallery in Milan, as part of the Celeste Prize finalists' exhibition, 'Deserting Reality'

Mute-Ululation is a site-specific video installation from the 56th Venice Biennale at The Pavilion of Humanity. As part of the Celeste Prize finalists' exhibition, you now have another chance to see this vocal forcefield at Ex Bazzi in Madrid.

British-Israeli artist, Michal Cole, addressed her own identity quest: searching for her culture and heritage. Although she was born in Israel and lives in London absorbing Western society, her parents are both Moroccan with a genealogy that can be traced back to the Spanish inquisition. In the early 1950 s, they were deported by sea to Israel in abject poverty, placed into refugee camps and struggled as a family to make a proud home in the face of acute racial discrimination for their Moroccan roots.

Michal has travelled to Morocco and Israel to film women performing traditional celebratoryululation : a long, wavering, high-pitched vocal sound with a trilling quality accompanied by a rapid movement of the tongue from side-to-side. Focusing her camera solely on the mouth in a tightly cropped frame, each woman is concentrated into a symbolic expressive vent a pure visual, audial and intensely erotic outpouring.

Mute Ululation Venice Documentation 2015 from Michal Ohana-Cole on Vimeo.

Across three surrounding walls of a darkened room, these single images appear arbitrarily out of the darkness and assemble frame-by-frame until there are hundreds of ululating mouths enfolding and encompassing the viewer into a mighty, almost unbearably forceful crescendo of sound and image. This defiant deluge of unadulterated female happiness functions as both a triumphant and poetic celebration of female identity and sexuality as well as visualising a pervasive unifying bond amongst women that transcends geographical borders, religions and ideologies. Cole s vision is one of hope in the face of discrimination and adversity confronting these issues head on, with a profound sense of strength and justice.

The winner of the Celeste Prize will be announced on 14 November and all finalists - including Cole - will exhibit at Ex Bazzi in Milan until 21 November as part of 'Deserting Reality'