Dan Allon: living in a world of cautious art making

It's impressive how a single story can inspire such diversity through different mediums! Visual artists from around the world are taking part in WHISTLE project, in an attempt to present a multi-sensory experience never attempted before in the Greek visual art scene. And that's because we do not think of visual art as an experience that when viewed fades away, but as an excuse, a triggering event, a reason to produce an artistic conversation and a literal dialogue with everyone interested. This is the way we feel visual art should work. 

In this short article we meet multidisciplinary artist, Dan Allon, from Israel.

How did find out about Whistle project and why did you decide to participate?
I saw an open call in one of the websites that published it, and I found the concept, the open mind, and the subject interesting. In addition, I liked the fact that it is a group exhibition revolving one theme, but I do not know the rest of the participants, or their observation on the theme. A lesson in keeping an open mind.

What intrigued you?
The theme of WHISTLE was very interesting to me for many reasons, but if I speak about aesthetic reasons, it takes the element of repetitive sound, and give it a cultural meaning, and that is why I chose to make a sound work.

What was your workflow?
I staydied the story and raw material, and invented a story and biographies to the characters I saw. I guess it was quite far and playful comparing the original meaning, but I think that is what is nice about it. After writing some basics, I rewrote a story, making it in the formant of a radio news bite. Afterwards, I recorded it in a studio in Germany, and then edited it, mixed it, and added an original theme music in Israel.

What was your artistic style, any influences?
Generally, I tend to take inspiration from personal stories, like things that happened to me in my past, and combine them with the aesthetics that one can find on the news: cartoons, journalism, and more. I use many different mediums, and like to work in cooperation with others.

Do you believe in superstitions?
Not really, but coming from a family that half of it is from North Africa, superstitions and narratives that believe in “do X and Y will happen” or “do not do X and Y won’t happen”, is something that I grew up with.

What do you want people to see in your works?
I would like them to see the superstition in listening to stories about cultural believes, see the manipulation in them, and the danger to art, and democracy, in believing blindly in ideas that no one can check. On the other hand, I would like them to laugh, and enjoy the parody on the “breaking news” atmosphere, that is more similar to superstitions than to trying to tell some kind of fact based truth.

Can you make a comment on the idea of collective storytelling?
I think it is a beautiful and playful way to make art, unfortunately not so common anymore, and that is what I liked about it. It made me remember some childhood games, and relate to a subject I like, but in a fresh approach. In addition, when you speak of superstitions, it is mandatory to show many views on the same “fact”, but without showing it to the other participants. That way, you can get a research-based survey on how people interpret the same idea, and many interpretations are  suspiciously similar!

Why should people support this project?
Because it is different and brave, in a world of too cautious art making.

Why go to the exhibition?
Everyone has superstitions, even if they are not taken as that, or sometimes even without noticing. An exhibiting like that allows remembering this exists, and self-reflection and even humor are always important.

What is visual art for you?
Art allows freedom, because you can be whomever you want, make whatever you want, and with the general agreement that it socially accepted. Visual and performance art, as well as music and books, are all means of reflection, change, and a way to sharpen one’s emotion scale. It is a way to feel human, to feel a part of society, but also to criticize. For many art deals mainly with itself, and many artworks are “about art”. I think it can be also about reflecting human experience, and be about “reality”, whatever that means.

Why did you become a visual artist?
There was not really a question about that; I am drawing since I was 3 years old.

Is there democracy in art?
I would like to believe that yes, but seeing what is going on in the world, with regimes of money, power, and censorship; unfortunately, it is less than before. I hope this will change and get better. It’s not easy to make art, but because I mentioned that art is connected to “the real” more that we would prefer to admit, therefor, political and economic changes influence art as well.

The art samples presented in each interview, belong to each artist's personal pre-existing portfolio and not represent submitted work, to WHISTLE project. The later, will be presented to the public during the official exhibition.

Dan Allon (1982), Is an Israeli multidisciplinary artist living in Berlin. His works spans on mediums such as drawing, music, comics, performance and installation. He hold a Master for the fine art program, Hamidrasha Faculty of the art, Israel (2014). He is a part of the book publication collective Humdrum, the musical duo Satla Land, and the performative duo Bad Research. His work is shown in museums, galleries, festivals and venues in Israel, and internationally.