narrative projects is pleased to present The Bureau of Authentication a collaborative project by artists Michal Baror and Patrick Hough that includes performance based installation work, video and photography. The project, produced as part of the ArtPort, Tel Aviv residency program, is the result of a two-month period of intensive research around the intersection of archaeology and politics in the region of Israel/Palestine. The exhibition explores the process of transformation that occurs to objects and stories through bureaucracy and the creation of official documents. It also examines the dynamics of recording and translating oral history into written historical text, ideas relating to provenance and market value.
As part of The Bureau of Authentication performance, members of the public are invited to bring evocative objects to the office of the Bureau where after a consultation, a unique certificate is issued for their object, recording both its physical aspects and the story/history surrounding it, as told by its owner. All objects are photographed in situ and reproduced within the signed and stamped certificate. An additional copy of the certificate is hung on the wall of the gallery forming part of the Bureau’s growing public archive. Participants are also invited to choose the language of their certificate – English, Arabic or Hebrew and these languages are used throughout the entire Bureau’s graphic design concept.
The work springs from an interest into the antiquities trade in Israel, one of the only countries in the Middle East where the buying and selling antiquities is legal. The laws regulating the sale of these objects can be traced back to the British Mandate period when Palestine formed part of British Empire.