Flotilla Over Troubled Waters: Art Exhibit Sails From Israel to Cyprus

An international exhibit displaying the works of more than 50 artists on three boats departed today from Haifa for the extraterritorial waters of the Mediterranean.

Artists Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir developed the "Exterritory" project to create a space for artistic exploration unconstrained by national boundaries. The boats will make a five-day voyage to Cyprus, with the works onboard encompassing video and performance art, sound and installations. The organizers plan to invite inhabitants of coastal cities to watch videos, which will be screened on the boats' white sails, while seated on buoys. The entire voyage will be filmed and posted on the project's Web site.

Sela and Amir say their project was planned long before the aid flotilla to Gaza. They admit there is some risk in sailing now, but "this is a project we've been planning for a year for this date. The recent events stress the dead end to which wars over territory lead. The events emphasize the urgent need for an alternative. 'Exterritory,' a place where everyone is equal before the law, will allow a different dialogue."

The initiative was recently selected as a research project by the London-based Live Art Development Agency. The Israeli organizers say that after they presented their project last year, dozens of artists contacted them to take part.

Sela and Amir collaborated in the past to produce the video trilogy "Beyond Guilt," which examines the connection between sexual identity and military-political identity.