SEA- LAND ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE FUTURE
This tripartite exhibition ranges from the psychological-social to the political and the personal.
The first artist featured is
photographer SIMCHA SHIRMAN. His works, iconic black and white
photographs from the past 35 years, deal with the relations of humans and
nature, alienation and human warmth, and hidden and revealed political
The photographs are printed manually
(in the traditional manner) in a range of grays, in a way that makes the viewer
look at complex reality without the contrasting dichotomy that divides it into
black or white. Such contrast is characteristic of the bright light of this
country and its disruptive meanings reflect our society today.
The Horizon series reveals an
almost abstract encounter of sea and sky. A space drained of human presence, an
unattainable nature, meditative in its beauty but which also creates a sense of
density and distress. Is it a horizon of hope or a promise that
has not been fulfilled? Other works, such as Tel Aviv Port, capture
nature with the traces of man's domination, like the sea in which the wooden
remnants of something are scattered. In other works, we find encounters between
humans and nature on the seam line between land and sea. These are both
momentary and timeless encounters. They contain signs of culture and time, but
they remain within the scope of the definition of the specific and the
possible. Shirman does not stay outside. In Self Portrait with a Tent,
he places himself as a reserve soldier next to a military tent in Samaria, like
some kind of a tourist, in a reference to 19th century-Civil War era
The second part of the exhibition is
a body of works by NOA SHEIZAF. It consists of two parts. The first is a
series of photographic works documenting the No-name Road, whose
northern section leads from Kafr Qara to Kibbutz Regavim, from January 2016
through the summer of 2017. The beautiful landscapes on the edge of the road are
violated by local reality, with a military base located on the outskirts of the
Arab town, proclaiming sovereignty and sharpening the borders of the town. The
road encourages the travelers not to stop but to continue on their way from one
end to the other. The scattered testimonies, along a road that connects the
area's settlements dating back to the Roman period, document the upper layer
and the archaeological strata beneath it. Billboards capture the eye of the
passing traveler and concrete blocks mark a forbidden military firing zone.
These offer evidence of the fabric of life and relations between the land and
its Jewish and Arab citizens.
Noa Sheizaf also shows a project
that explores the sea and the coastline between Acre and Caesarea as a future
archaeological X-ray. This corresponds to the way in which Israeli culture
preserves and refines its past memory, at the level of material
representations, such as public architecture and heritage sites or everyday
materials. As such, it creates a close-up of the questions: 1. What will
ultimately be the material evidence to represent the Israeli marine/coastal
culture of the present when it becomes the archaeology of the future? 2. How
are cultural representations constructed? 3. Is there a connection between what
we think about ourselves in the present and what will represent our culture in
RANIA AKEL, the third participant, shows work concerned with her house
that is being built these days and is slated for demolition, and with the
future planning of the boundaries of her town, Kafr Qara. She casts a wide gaze
on the landscape of the region, using future outline maps as a platform for her
Rania is a woman who has both feet
firmly on the ground. She wants to maintain a normal and legal existence in her
homeland, but is constantly in a state of "pending clarification".
The story of her town is also the story of a society, a country and the present
Middle East. Her particular situation forces her to examine future plans, laws
and building regulations concerning the Arab sector in Israel.
At sea, she creates another chapter
in the years-long project: "Return to Sender". This
time she sails far out to sea and releases bottles containing 10-year-old
censored letters to her former lover. Here, she asks the immense free sea to
carry them to new shores, so that the inhabitants of those faraway lands might
find them. In each bottle, she includes a request that they send her back a
message telling her where they found it, on a postcard carrying a local stamp
that symbolizes hope.
So where do we start and where do we
As a culture and as a society?
In time and space?
Visible land hides beneath it
endless layers and road signs.
The manner of its division and its
boundaries, determined on the surface that is exposed to the air, raise
questions about the relationship between human culture and the land, and
between fellow human beings.
The endless sea, whose bottom is
obscure, is different. We cannot discern its borders, and the horizon
separating sky and water changes in ways that do not depend on us.
maritime culture that a coastal country like ours creates is mainly
a culture of beaches, bathing and fishing.
Most of us stay close to the shore.
What is it that prevents most of us from going deeper into the sea?
The sea is an unknown mass, at times
misleading and at times dangerous.
It is the largest abyss on Earth whose bottom is invisible.
Can we view the sea as our
collective unconscious, and the earth, the land, as our conscious part?
We fight over every inch of land.
Does it mean anything in the depths of the water? And what can the water tell
us about what lies behind all of our conscious actions as a society?
The land collects the symbols of
different eras, ideas, cultures and kinds of awareness, in its ports and on its
seashores between Acre, Caesarea, Tel-Aviv, Jaffa, and Gaza.
Then we, too, will eventually become
It is fascinating to contemplate how
we will be perceived in the future.
As a developed human culture? A
primitive one? Aggressive? Wise?
In the end, why do we fight over the
land? That is not what it was meant for.
It is supposed to heal. As is the