Israeli artist Liat Segal makes her US debut at the National Museum of American Jewish History with Scattered Light, an innovative work of new media art. The piece weaves together key phrases from George Washington’s 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island affirming his commitment to religious liberty (on view at the Museum) with the reflections of Museum visitors collected from our It’s Your Story recording booths. Both Washington’s words and the contemporary commentary speak to the significance of religious freedom and to the continuing role we all play in its preservation.
Scattered Light pairs the old with the new through the use of a wand embedded with LED lights that move over a photosensitive surface, “printing” Washington’s words along with those of Museum visitors. The texts fade away over time, allowing new content to appear, creating an ever-evolving dialogue between history and the present.
Segal, who recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale, drew from her multidisciplinary background, including her past work as a researcher at Microsoft Innovation Labs and as a teacher at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, to create this installation.