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Roee Rosen is a painter, novelist and filmmaker. Through fictionalization and the use of humor, his work challenges and deconstructs the common registers of identities and identifications in the representation of history, desire and structural violence.
The film The Dust Channel (2016) presents the artistic life of a fictional Russian- Jewish émigré Efim Poplavsky (1978–2011), aka Maxim Komar-Myshkin. Rosen has invented a biography and an oeuvre for him that is marked by the paranoia of a Jewish artist embroiled in Russian history and politics. Set in the domestic environment of a modern bourgeois Israeli family, The Dust Channel features an operetta with a libretto in Russian dedicated to a high-tech home cleaning appliance, the Dyson DC07 Vacuum Cleaner. The family is apparently in mortal fear of dirt, dust or any alien presence in their home. In order to curb such fear, their devotion to the vacuum cleaner becomes almost cult-like. Their seemingly absurd behavior points to the equally ridiculous—if not more violent—policies on refugees and the various forms of xenophobia bred by it. The artist draws a figurative connection between dust and sand, as sand refers to Holot (the Hebrew word for sand), the name of the detention center in the Israeli desert. Holot is where political refugees are held long-term and is unrecognized by the state. As for the vacuum cleaner, the metaphor is equally strong: when technology is developed and used to construct prisons, detention centers and other forms of control and surveillance infrastructure, who does it really serve?