Spectrum for an Untouchable: Meital Yaniv

blood flows in blue

I’m pretty sure he was trying to beat the red light. I’m pretty sure she thought he was going to stop. He didn’t stop, and neither did she. He struck the front of her truck; his motorcycle went way beyond where he went, but he went far too. He landed close to my door, to my left. My friend asked if I had seen what had just happened. I looked at the man. I asked my friend what he meant. He said that truck just hit that guy on the motorcycle and his bike is way over there and he is right there lying on the ground. I looked at the man: black pants, black shirt and black helmet. I asked my friend if it was real. He started to breath heavy. I didn’t know if I should get out of the car. People started to gather, it felt like there was nothing I could do. I looked down at the man wondering if he was real, wondering if he was alive. Through my window, I heard the man ask another man if his arm was missing, the stranger responded, no it’s just broken. The blood slithered out from under his helmet onto the sidewalk. I didn’t hear any other words, and I didn’t see any more movement; but he still had his arm. My friend was freaking out. At that point, I was trying to be okay.

When I had asked Meital Yaniv a little over a week ago what her writing was about, she said it was about Israel. When I told her I felt like I knew a lot about Israel but in reality probably knew nothing; her response was: I know, that’s why I wrote this.

I printed the 65 pages she sent me, but my printer made an error. The passages that extended to the bottom of the page got sliced in two, giving me the top half of the sentence at the bottom of one page, and the bottom half of the same sentence at the top of the following. This forced me to read the words in half, twice, and provided a bridge between pages. This was not the artist’s doing, yet the splayed text visually opened my mind up allowing me to navigate the writers visceral yet honest interpretations of her multifaceted conflicts and provided me a personal access point into the amalgamated thought process of her poetics.

I searched for the proper words to introduce these excerpts of; Meital Yaniv’s book Spectrum for an Untouchable, but was reminded by the writer herself that I still don’t have the words to explain


trauma map

Spectrum for an Untouchable by Meital Yaniv

I am exile


There is no voice that speaks my language

There isn’t a voice that can speak about the language we seek or from the language we need.

You are the other that I learned to see

But I never had to learn to hear

I have always heard you in my dreams


I am exile.


There is no voice that speaks my language

There isn’t a voice that can speak about the language we seek or from the language we need.

I write because my voice has been dismissed

I write because my voice was never heard

I don’t have the right to speak

not in my land not in your land and not in your land

You are my Jewish American princess that can judge and boycott and expel and be heard. You have every right.

The other you is my other, my enemy my caged warrior, I didn’t build the wall around you but I belong to the people who did.

The other me is you, you who taught me how to write and how to speak, and now I choose a foreign language to speak back to you.


I am exile


And I write in a language that is not my own because it is impossible to speak to all of you from a mothers tongue place, I am exile and the only way I can write is by forgetting the language that taught me the things I need to forget in order to be heard by you. Always you.


I am exile.


My voice has less urgency less sorrow less agency but my voice my little spoiled naive blind voice needs to come out just because it stands opposite to your voice.

I don’t want to speak on top or beside or “near by” I want to speak from far away.

And I want only our echoes to pass through one another in the middle.


I am exile.

There is no voice that speaks my language

There isn’t a voice that can speak about the language we seek or from the language we need.

I belong to the people that won’t allow me to have a voice

So I write

I write about you, who already went through the journey my journey, but now you only speak from the destination point. You don’t speak from the place of the past you speak from too far away. You speak to them about them through your eyes you speak to us about us through your ears you don’t share your knowledge only your opinionated finger of shame and blame.


I am exile


And you don’t want to follow me

You don’t want to give me this stage

So I write to you

All of you

Forget yourselves for the remembrance of our memory.

Stop telling me that its not enough and that I will never understand

It will never be enough for you because it was never meant for you. And I

will never understand.

Stop telling me that there is no hope and that Hitler won and that we are ashamed to be associated with you from here.

Our grandparents survived the same history but we never shared the same space

or spoke from the same place, your shame is my courage.

Stop telling me that I lost my mind that I am an embarrassment and a radical.

I only want to be heard by you, I will search for the language you need for




I am exile.

There is no voice that speaks my language

There isn’t a voice that can speak about the language we seek or from the language we need.

The other you that I belong to just want me to disappear, you are not ready. You will never be ready but I write to you. Always you.

You are my past you are my wisdom tooth that will never fully drop from my mouth

You will stand next to me only on the battlefield, you will hug me in the front line and tell me not to be scared that everything will be okay.

But after we won

Your arms were gone.

The more I speak the more you shout on my voice

I belong to both of you, the one who wont share and the one who wants to keep hiding, we are not good people, we are our own enemy and it’s time to fight

we should win this war, this should be our final war. our final victory.



I am exile


I don’t belong to no one, and to no land

I am exile.


You taught me how

how to erase my I

you taught me how

how to learn

you taught me how

how to use it again

I am exile

And I write to you



All of you.


Image Double תמונה כפולה

I’m walking through all my favorite streets to say good-bye, it’s dark out but I can still sense the yellow light, so many things left unsaid, you call me from there, you just started your day.

You ask me how did they react to my film.

I go into details and tell you about every reaction, every conversation and then I stop.

Do you want to see my favorite boulevard.

It’s beautiful, why are there so many people out isn’t it really late.

I don’t know how to explain why people don’t sleep here.

Everyone looks so happy and alive.

Everybody is happy, everybody is alive, everybody is joyfully blind.

I can’t wait to come visit already.

You are going to have so much fun, it’s the best city in the world.

You ask me more questions.

Every answer swims in a sea of contradictions.

I miss you.

I miss you too.

I’m in a car driving away, it’s dark out but I can still sense the yellow light, so many things left unsaid.

I feel I’m inside a miniature park that mimics the place I once knew.

The aggression on the freeway is present.

I try to explain.


I’m hurt

It’s not just blood bleeding into blood anymore

It’s blood bleeding into land

Dissolved disappeared displaced

Can I take my heart and move it to the right side, maybe it wont hurt as much.

It will, we will.

Hurt is a gap with no language as well


Pain is an internal gap

We hurt

We bleed

We fall

We fly

Toward the next root

Did my heart beat, did a bomb fall, did the earth shake, did I survive.



Today we felt rejected in the most honest and beautiful way.



Gap רווח

Remember when we shared a dream.


I used to have many dreams about caged tigers.

Do you know how tigers distinguish one another in the wild?

The white line around the eyes is their signature, that’s how they recognize the other.

In a cage a tiger walks in circles, the same exact circle, starting at one point ending in

the next, over and over again.

PTSD is caused in our brain by an over reactive adrenaline response. It causes

neurologic patterns in our brain.

I told you that if you’ll be on the other side to catch me, I would follow.

I was there I had the option to cross, but I didn’t.

I wasn’t expecting you to wait for me on the other side.

We established that I could only follow myself.

I didn’t

I couldn’t

I wanted to

I wanted to move behind or to come after

I came close

I imagined an empty road ahead in black and white. A shadow was proceeding


and I just needed to place someone instead of the shadow I wanted to.

The fact that I could choose to cross and come back felt threatening

The ability to move my body made me feel like I have power. Power that I don’t want

to keep or share, I want it to evaporate. I want it to belong to no one.

Most people process their emotions only through the mind, some have the ability to

process through the mind and the body. I wonder what neurologic patterns that

process creates.

If we could mirror neurologic patterns to the outside do you think they would come

out through our eyes. Do we have invisible lines around our eyes to distinguish us

from one another.


Gap blue רווח כחול

If clouds could rise from the ground and land could fall from the sky.

Vertigo happens in stable surroundings, it’s just an elusion of chaos.

Clouds do rise from the ground they fall back as raindrops.

Emotions rise from the soul and fall back as eye drops.

Before you there were no waves. Just still water.

I want to be able to tell you why waves are important but I can only show you.


Language holds the history of its own silence.

Feminist waves hit and go back, hit and go back.

I wish they could stay for longer.

Maybe we need to change the name from waves to swells.

Is it possible to change a name without erasing the history.

Is it possible to change a name without erasing the legacy.

Is it possible to name something that can never be held.

I ask you again.

The reflection of your voice became a haunting shadow.

After you expose your eyes to blue light for long time darkness becomes red.

Blood flows in blue it becomes red when it needs to come out.

Do you want to share a bleeding site.

In the Israel Defense Forces they teach you that if you’re lost at night you should look

for yellow lights.

If a residential area is lit with yellow lights it’s a Jewish resident.

If a residential area is lit with white lights it’s a Palestinian resident.

If one side controls all the power it can decide what color your life will reflect.


Glorious wound

I ask you

Isn’t it time you became a scar

trauma map divided



Born in 1984, in Tel-Aviv Israel, Meital Yaniv is an interdisciplinary visual artist writer and filmmaker. Together with Eve LaFountain and Ali Kheradyar, Yaniv initiated the conversation series, Feminism Today in May 2013. Her work has been exhibited at Pøst, Cirrus Gallery, Shulamit Gallery, Raid Projects and For Your Art Gallery in Los Angeles. Yaniv holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts and a BFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design

Her book, Spectrum for an Untouchable is set to be published in the Fall of 2015


  1. wow

  2. touching,

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