I Wanted Better for Her – Not Worse, 2016
Video, 11:41 min
The delicate rosy blossom of an almond tree in full bloom fills the screen in I Wanted Better for Her – Not Worse, Sigalit Landau’s most recent video-loop (2016). Suddenly the tree is shaken so harshly that the light petals fall from the flowers, floating through the air to the ground like the feathers of a torn duvet. Gracefully, the shedding of pale-coloured leaves fills the frame. The monotonous rocking of the branches slowly halts and then starts again, this time in reverse— the leaves return to the branches.
Almond trees, (a Mediterranean version of the cherry tree which is admired for its evanes- cent grace), evidently grew wild in the region thousands of years ago. In the bible, these trees are referred to as a symbol of vigilance and promise due to their early flowering in spring and late ripening of the fruit. The shape of the tree’s branches influenced the design of the Menorah in the Mount Temple, (and later appeared in Christian iconography). In Talmudic legends, almond trees are associated with miracles. Since the early Zionist settlement in Israel, almond trees have become a symbol of the fertile biblical reconnection with the ‘land of milk and honey’, and appear in many children songs as the tree of trees, (celebrated in Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year’s feast for trees and flora in general). The filmed cycle
of the almond tree is completed artificially: it overcomes gravity and loss by the implementing of a simple effect that returns the falling petals to their flowers. That which has been shaken, damaged or violated is being repaired. Violence is camou- flaged by seamless beauty.