Yael Bartana

Light To The Nations, 2022-2024

An Image of by the German Pavillon of the 2024 Venice Art Biennale

Photo: Andrea Rossetti

An Image of by the German Pavillon of the 2024 Venice Art Biennale

Photo: Andrea Rossetti

An Image of by the German Pavillon of the 2024 Venice Art Biennale

Photo: Andrea Rossetti

An Image of by the German Pavillon of the 2024 Venice Art Biennale

Photo: Andrea Rossetti

An Image of by the German Pavillon of the 2024 Venice Art Biennale

In an act of salvation, the generation ship Light To The Nations carries humans toward new galaxies and planets. Named after a passage in the Book of Isaiah calling for leadership, the generation ship serves humanity in the face of the man-made environmental and political destruction of Planet Earth. The dimensions of the ship allow for controlled population growth, ensuring the survival of future generations. This grand, open-ended journey will continue for eons, encapsulating utopian and dystopian elements in equal measures.

The ship’s creator, Yael Bartana, works within the framework of Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah. She superimposes the Sephirot diagram, the main image of Kabbalah, on the spaceship structure. The ten Sephirot transform into the ship’s spheres, designed as clusters for various functions including ship headquarters, space research, engineering, medical center, learning centers, agriculture, heritage, public sphere, living quarters, and recycling. The Sephirot contain all facets of God, symbolizing the idea of God as Ain Sof—an eternity that equals the endless outer space of the generation ship’s journey.

Overlaying imagined technologies with mystical doctrine, Bartana utilizes the ship as a vehicle of redemption, analogous to the Merkava, the Kabbalistic carriage that brings the mystic close to the throne of God. The spaceship’s journey toward a utopian ideal relates to the core messianic promise of a better future and to a further Kabbalistic concept: that of Tikkun Olam, the mending of the world. Without humans present to destroy it, Earth can recover, and without the restrictions of the land, new forms of societies can be designed on the ship.

While Light To The Nations is based on Jewish traditions, the grand endeavor transcends religious, ethnic, national, state, and tribal boundaries. It offers a future to all humanity while acknowledging a certain hubris inherent in its biblical reference. The spaceship navigates beyond traditional notions of space, land, and human connection to the Earth, defying the gravitational pull and the human quest for belonging. It serves as a symbol of redemption and a physical embodiment of new societal structures, redefining humanity’s relationship with its terrestrial and territorial origins. As a beacon of hope and innovation, the generation ship operates as a blueprint for the potential construction of further spaceships, inviting humanity to embark on collective journeys while Earth is healing.

Light To The Nations – Generation Ship

3D model

Life in the Generation Ship

3D rendering for dome projection, 21 min.

The Generation Ship Topography

Chalk Drawings

Doreet LeVitte Harten, Interview

Single channel video, 11.30 min


Single channel video and sound installation, 15.20 min

An Image of by the German Pavillon of the 2024 Venice Art Biennale

Photo: Andrea Rossetti

An Image of by the German Pavillon of the 2024 Venice Art Biennale

Photo: Andrea Rossetti

An Image of by the German Pavillon of the 2024 Venice Art Biennale

Photo: Andrea Rossetti


Farewell portrays a ceremony preceding the departure of the generation ship Light To The Nations, destined for distant galaxies. With a journey transcending the boundaries of time and space about to begin, the ceremony is designed to observe this separation from Earth.

The dancers in Farewell evoke a sense of longing and anticipation as their ethereal movements navigate the liminal space between our world and the unknown. Dressed as sylphs, they allude to the spirit of Romanticism and its explorations of human transformation and the supernatural.

Bartana also draws from the Labanotation, a system developed by choreographer Rudolf von Laban in the early twentieth century. Laban’s style of expressionistic dance combined collective and ritualistic movement in a way that echoes Bartana’s own engagement with social themes.

As the video unfolds, Bartana’s lens transports viewers beyond the confines of Earth to the vast expanse of space, where the generation ship, Light To The Nations, floats in the cosmic void. The ship emerges as a messianic vessel, a promise of redemption, and the dancers mirror the kinetic movement of the ship as well as the human endeavor behind it.

Towards the ceremony’s climax, the dancers don animal masks—a horse, a donkey, and a ram—evoking apocalyptic imagery and connecting to the Judeo-Christian messianic narrative woven throughout Bartana’s work. Farewell’s pre-enactment of an ecstatic dance becomes a visceral exploration of looming catastrophe and hope.

The forest setting reflects Light To The Nations’ imperative to grant nature a chance for rejuvenation. The ceremony marks humanity’s parting from Earth and its journey toward salvation, underscoring the interconnectedness of utopia and catastrophe. Farewell envisions a departure toward realities yet unknown to humankind.


Sound Design and Music: Daniel Meir

Lighting Design: Matthias Singer

Exhibition Design Concept: Oren Sagiv

Technical Coordination: Richard Gabriel Gersch

Exhibition Producer: Adi Nachman

Project Advisor: Shelley Harten

Light to the Nations – Generation Ship, 2024

3D model

Generation Ship Architect: Assaf Kimmel

Fabrication: Saygel, Schreiber & Gioberti

Farewell, 2024

Single channel video, 15.20 minutes

Director: Yael Bartana

Director of Photography: Simon Veroneg

Choreography: Mor Bashan

Assistant Director: Livnat Sela

Dancers: Alexander Abdukarimov, Ksenia Ovsyannik, Oleksandr Shpak, Federico Spallitta, Shade Theret, Maja Zimmerlin

Costume: Marie von Federlin

Styling: Bert Kietzerow

Editing: Daphna Keenan, Yael Bartana

Sound Design: Daniel Meir

Color Grading: Simon Veroneg

Animation Production: Achtung4k Studio

Make Up Assistant: Guerdy Casimir

First Camera Assistant: Matthias Börner

Second Camera Assistant: Sky Müller

B Camera Operator: Hannes Engler

Gaffer: Tarek Shayne Tabet

Electrician: Tim Bornhöft

LED Drone Company: upup.berlin

LED Drone Pilot: Maximilian Raschke

LED Drone Operator: Ferenc Bodor

LED Drone Technician: Sebastian Simon Driver: Karl Behrendt

Producer: Richard Gabriel Gersch

Junior Producer: Carlotta Cornehl

The Generation Ship Topography, 2024

Chalk Drawings: Guy Saggee – Shual Studio

Farewell posters, 2024

Posters Graphic Design: Avi Bohbot and Gila Kaplan

Posters Printing: Grafiche Leone

Doreet LeVitte-Harten, Interview, 2024

Single channel video, 11.30 minutes

Director: Yael Bartana Director of Photography: Simon Veroneg

Sound Recording: Sky Müller

Editing: Daphna Keenan, Yael Bartana

Animation Production: Achtung4k Studio

Translation and Subtitles: Noa Shuval

Monolith Design: Assaf Kimmel

Monolith Fabrication: Falegnameria Calzavara

Life In The Generation Ship, 2024

3D rendering dome projection, 21 minutes Spheres Design: High Road Stories, Assaf Kimmel

Seating Area Design: Assaf Kimmel

Furniture Production: Mingardo

Technical Partner: Eidotech GmbH, Berlin

Bartana Studio

Gilad BenDavid, Richard Gabriel Gersch, Adi Nachman, Saskia Wendland

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