Israel’s musical and political underground of the 1980s, emerging on the background of the First Lebanon War (1982) and the first Plaestinian Uprising (1987), is the subject of Avi Pitchon’s personal book. Pitchon not only witnessed key events in the development of the local punk scene, he was also involved himself in it – forming the first political punk bands in Israel, as well as initiating groups like “Pacifist Youth”. In his book, Pitchon describes a wide inventory of political acts and groups, bands and scenes, albums and individuals, most of which previously undocumented. His starting point might surprise German readers, as he describes the appearance of German disco band Dschinghis Khan in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1979 (taking place in Jerusalem) as the life-changing event taking him on a path that very quickly arrived at punk.
Art is not mimetic. Art is not ‘about’ stuff. Art has no role. Art does not ‘ask questions’. People might do those things, sometimes even people who are artists. But not their art, even if they think it does, even if that was their intention.
Were one to be dramatic, they would decree art the pre-Tower-of-Babel mother tongue (thus terming it ‘autonomous’ misses its essence as all-encompassing source), and politics not even one letter within it. They would point out an iceberg that, in contemporary discourse, had thus been forced to balance on its tip. A dangerous balance indeed. But for now, let’s pretend that all we’re saying is that art and politics are simply two different languages, a distinction too often forgotten in the aforementioned discourse.