Courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, NY
31.10. - 07.12.08
Curated by Malin Barth
This project is a seven year metaphoric portrayal of the military disfiguration of the Israeli land-scape. To describe the complexity of this ever-changing and multi-layered terrain, I chose to keep a distance. The aesthetic, orderly and beautiful compositions parallel the defense mechanism that Israelis have developed in order to protect themselves from the painful reality of the current political situation. The wounds in the landscape correspond to the wounds in the Israeli collec-tive consciousness. My goal is to reveal how every piece of land has become infected with loaded sediments of the ongoing conflict.
Instead of confronting the subject of the Israeli occupation in the way the world is absorbing it through the news, I approach it in a more subtle way. The media's aggressive representation of reality changes people's sensibilities and makes them callous to the suffering of others. One does not need to shock the audience in order to make an impact. I would rather challenge the viewer to think, using the landscape as a platform for discussion.
The accumulation of ruins and military remnants are an important part of what defines the Is-raeli landscape today. Observing this phenomenon makes me question the values of the society that is growing out of it. Four decades ago the historian and philosopher Yeshayahu Leibovich forewarned about the Israeli occupation being a cancerous disease in the heart of the nation, while renowned contemporary writer David Grossman brings it up again today. I believe that as long as this infected landscape is used as foundation stones for the future of Israel, the Zionist dream is sadly turning into a nightmare.
Abandoned Military ammunition storage, ten years after explosion
The military compound was abandoned in the early 1990s following a huge explosion. The ac-cidental explosion killed a number of people, and shock waves broke windows in houses some ten km away. While photographing the locked-up site, I was taking photos in the interior of aban-doned office buildings. During a long exposure in a neglected room, a door that was slammed shut by the wind startled me. The photo reflects the sudden movement of the camera, captured on film.
Meaning: the 'science (or logic) of speed'. Dromology is important when considering the struc-turing of society in relation to warfare. 'Whoever controls the territory possesses it. Possession of territory is not primarily about laws and contracts, but first and foremost a matter of move-ment and circulation.'
Druze community in Israel is officially recognized as a separate religious entity with its own courts (with jurisdiction in matters of personal status - marriage, divorce, maintenance and adoption) and spiritual leadership. Their culture is Arab and their language Arabic but they opted against mainstream Arab nationalism in 1948 and have since served (first as volunteers, later within the draft system) in the Israel Defence Forces and the Border Police. Worldwide there are probably about one million Druze living mainly in Syria and Lebanon, with 104,000 in Israel, including about 18,000 in the Golan (which came under Israeli rule in 1967) and several thousands who emigrated to Europe and North and South America. The Druze community in Israel has a special standing among the country's minority groups, and members of the community have attained high-level positions in the political, public and military spheres.
Also known as military training zone, fire zones are closed to civilian's access during the week but the areas covering National Parks do open to the public during weekends. Around 75% of Israeli National Parks are appropriated as fire zone.
"Youth movement, based on the principles of Progressive Zionism, Social Justice, Progressive Judaism and self-actualization, and committed to peace and equality. It promotes a strong com-mitment to Israel, Jewish continuity, social justice and community responsibility and encourages the development of strong individual and group friendships." (hashomer hatzair.org)
Olive and Cactus
The olive tree is an image that is strongly associated with Palestinian and Arab identity, as well as being a symbol of peace. The official sign of the state of Israel also incorporates two olive branches. This appropriation of the olive tree by both cultures highlights both the similarity and the conflict of two people and their histories, struggling for control over the same land. Similarly the cactus fruit, Tzabar, while widely recognized as a symbol of Jewish settlement in Israel, is also very common is Arab villages throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories. The new elements in the Israeli landscape I encountered in the preparation of this book made me wonder whether separation fences and barbed wire will become the new symbols of this divided land.
"On the winding road between Akko and Safad"
A line from the song "City Shelter" by Ehud Banay.
Every two or three hours, a military Hammer drives along the separation fence, clearing any marks (tishtush) on the path (shvil) to allow detection of fresh tracks which indicate possible ter-rorist intrusion. This method was widely used in the border with Lebanon, and is now deployed along sensitive stretches of the separation fence along the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Separation Wall / The Separation Fence
The security fence is meant to protect citizens of Israel from terror attacks and is constituted of a wall made of concrete or concrete/fence combination, and a fence-only version of the barrier. The planned concrete wall should be 403 miles long (650 km) and 25 feet high (8 m) at it's high-est. The Berlin Wall was 96 miles (155 km) long and 11.8 feet (3.6m) high.
Wingate Sands Gibushon
A gibushon is a selection process for elite military units in the Israeli army. Senior high school students go through a day of extreme physical tests, which include running in the sand with full military gear. Those who pass go on to another, weeklong selection process before beginning the similarly difficult, two-year special-forces training.
List of works:
- Old Ground Force training Zone, Zeelim
- ”Chicago” Ground Force Training
- The Separation Wall, Jerusalem
- Palestinian Olive Trees Beheaded ”Due to Security Reasons”, East Jerusalem
- Soldier view point on the Israel Libanese border
- International Military Ground Force Training Base - Replica of an Arab village, Zeelim
- Akershtain factory, cement wall constructor, Yerucham
- Dromology: controlling and blocking movement in an occupied territory, West Bank
- US military ammunition storage next to Nashonim
- Loading ramp for tank, Harava
- Burnt olive trees field north of Kiryat Shmona
- Tank barrier, Golan Heights
- Military ammunition storage, ten years after explosion
- Air Force Training Targets, Big Rivers National Park /Military Fire Zone
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[New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met)]