A Secrecy Impulse/Image Blockade

The ties between censorship, representation, sensual perception and secrecy, 2015

Ruti Sela & Maayan Amir (Exterritory)

07.08.15 – 01.11.15

A Secrecy Impulse/Image Blockade

The Israeli Central Collection Unit of the Intelligence Corps, also known as ‘Unit 8200’, is considered Israel’s most elite and secret intelligence unit, responsible for signal intelligence and code decryption. This piece offers a look into the brain of current and former members of Unit 8200. It does that not only by presenting close and intimate interviews with the unit members, but also by simultaneously measuring and exposing their brain activity using MRI technology.

Created in collaboration with prominent Israeli scientists in a research group from the neurobiology lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, this work presents a unique investigation into the ways those involved in a system of secrecy process information. It explores issues of censorship and the manner in which it shapes and affects the brain, mainly examining the ways blocking information influences brain activity and how adherence to state secrets affects how one sees and hears in the sensory regions of the brain, like the visual and auditory cortices.


Ruti Sela is an artist whose works have been shown internationally at various exhibitions and venues, including the Sydney Biennale; the Berlin Biennale; The Israel Museum in Jerusalem: the Centre Pompidou in Paris; Art in General in New York; Tate Modern in London, among many others. In 2009 she initiated, together with Maayan Amir, an art project titled The Exterritory Project, for which they won an award for young artists from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2011. Ruti studied art at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, and holds an M.F.A. from the film department of the Tel Aviv University. She teaches at the University of Haifa, the Midrasha School of Art, and other institutions. A book about her work was recently published by Archive Books.

Maayan Amir is an artist, curator, and theorist who holds an M.F.A. in cinema and is completing her Ph.D. at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths at the University of London. Her works have been shown internationally in exhibitions such as the Istanbul Biennial; the Berlin Biennale; Jeu de Paume in Paris; the Ludwig Museum in Cologne; Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin; among many others. She edited a book on Israeli documentary cinema, which was published in 2008. Mayaan teaches in the M.F.A. program at the University of Haifa, Sapir Academic College, and at other academic institutions. Since 2012 she has been a researcher on the Forensic Architecture project at Goldsmiths, University of London.


Q and A

What is your favourite dark corner of the internet?

This information has been withheld.

What are the geographic coordinates of your favourite secret place?

The artists preferred to not reveal this location to us.

What kinds of private information do you think will be valuable in 2050?

Details of the artists' insight in relation to this this question have not been discovered.