A few months ago I discovered the words 'Draft Authors' engraved on the rooftop balcony on 5 Simtat Shlush in Tel Aviv (where my studio is at the Alfred Institute building). After an intensive search,I found the contact information of a woman. I persuaded her to meet me for an interview. When we met she showed me a journal that documented the meetings of five people who met on the rooftop of the building in the summer of 1961. The journal was written by one of them. The woman did not agree to let me document the journal, nor did she want to be publicly identified. However, she did let me read it, and I succeeded in sneaking one photograph from the journal.I have written from memory what I read, trying to be as accurate as possible.
The owner of the journal worked in the building from May 1953 to September 1961. He and his cousin used to meet on the rooftop and write literary drafts. This continued from March 1958 until the death of the cousin in January 1959. After his death, in June 1961, on the birthday of the deceased, the owner of the journal invited the deceased’s closest friends to the rooftop; he invited his sister, his best friend, his ex girlfriend and his business partner.
The meetings of 1961
First meeting 0.95X0.71
The sister brought her brother’s favorite clothes to the gathering. They began by telling each other stories about their friend. At some point during the evening they each put on their deceased friend’s clothing, and decided to wear his clothes during each future gathering on the roof. The journal’s owner read a phrase from Kafka 'Five Friends We Were' and they stayed up on the roof until sunrise.
Second meeting 1X0.95
They had a feast in memory of their friend. Theygathered on the floor around a pot of soup and the journal’s owner read aloud a draft that was written by their old friend. Afterwards, he tore the paper up into pieces and sprinkled them into grandma Vera’s Hungarian soup. They then began the ritual of eating the soup. The business partner got angry and threw his bowl. He shouted at them to stop these weird gatherings. He decided not to take part in it anymore and stormed out. He threatened that he would let the owners of the building know what they were doing. The others cleaned the mess. They decided to continue the meetings but to maintain a low profile for some time.
Third meeting 2.37X0.72
About six weeks after their last gathering the group met up again, this time without the business partner. The ex girlfriend had just come back from a visit in New York. She took out a needle and ink and asked the sister to tattoo on her body a sentence from her dead ex’s writings. The sister tattooed these sentences on each of the other’s bodies. The wounds (tattoos) were written in rhymes.
Fourth meeting 0.90X0.81
The journal’s owner, again, read out load Kafka 'unsuccessful writing'. Afterwards, he announced that he no longer wanted to wear his dead friend’s clothes, and he began to undress. The rest did not follow his lead, and remained dressed. They decided that each one will then write about his last encounter with their deceased friend. While they were writing, two of the building’s guards arrived on the roof and kicked them out. They destroyed the groups' writings and threatened to get the journal’s owner fired. Everyone ran away. The journal owner was in fear for his job.
Fifth meeting 0.90X0.82
The journal owner decided to split from the group. Even though he was fired, he decided to go to the rooftop one last time and read a letter he had written to his dead cousin. He buried the letter in the southeast corner of the roof, somewhere deep in the floor. It seems that during this night he engraved the words “Draft Authors” on the balcony wall.