Tamar Harpaz

Nationality IL/US
SHHHH! (Sketch for Sound Installation), 2016 SHHHH! (Sketch for Sound Installation), 2016

Something is licking my toes. I feel its teeth. I hear it purring. Is it one of my cats? Through the darkness I see its glowing eyes. It’s bigger than a cat but smaller than a tiger - possibly a leopard. When she starts talking I realize it’s a female. Her name is Shlomzion, Hebrew for Peace in Zion. The last surviving leopardess in the Judean desert. Her mouth opens and a loud roar is heard through the land echoing back into my apartment, shaking its walls.

I struggle with the leopardess, determined to silence her. A neighbor is listening behind the wall, collecting evidence, recording our every move. Her nails slash the walls with a vocal screech. I quickly cover the room with an old carpet, a mattress, some empty card boxes - whatever I can find. I pray the insulation will help. If we are quiet enough perhaps she'll go unnoticed, and could stay.

Instantly the sounds are dead and dry. I can't even recall my own house by the sound of it. No echoes or depth to the voices in my head. A key dropping in a church or in a small room will reflect the same place in my mind. Shlomzion moves restlessly, circling the space like a cage. I know there is no choice. I strip the walls of carpeting, leaving concrete and bare stone. Now the walls are trembling; resonating as we scream into the night, fight across the sea, all the way back home.