The Temporary Ruin
Chapter 1: The Archive
Meandering through Wad el Shami is like a journey in time in the midst of the complex and fragmented fabric of the 21th century “Mega Jerusalem”. The valley, an eroded fragment of Palestinian traditional landscape, a conjuncture of historical strata’s. The contemporary city is gradually encroaching what is left of the valley and other (post)-rural territories, fracturing the territory. Scattered ruins of field houses from the Ottoman period, “Qusur’s” or “Manateer’s”, seamlessly nestle in this terraced olive grove. They are the most visible ruins within the valley. Archived in the form of paintings, the layout of those ruins are displayed in an attempt to rewrite the topography of the valley. The archive questions the notion of heritage, becomes a kind ironic act of to preemptive archeology. The concept recreates a historical oecumene, focusing on the vernacular and the relationship to the territorialities. Created in-situ, the paintings attempt to share the experienced. The installation, a timeless trip...
The cabinet of curiosity
“Wadi ha zevel,” or the valley of garbage. An officious dump yard. For years I have gathered various curiosities from Wad el Shami: trash from all periods. A surface-archaeology approach, I create a collection of artifacts from the valley and preserve them from the dumps of oblivion, before the valley gets encroached by the urban sprawl. Some objects are evidences of cultural aspects, others of events that took place there. While their only commonality is their valley finish and subjection to a process of degeneration, I found I could categorize them in ‘logical’ groups. Some invite projections from an imaginary of conflict; others tell of global evolution in production and consumption.
I ask what more these objects say than we already assume?
This chapter of The Temporary Ruin presents these objects in a cabinet of curiosities, where they gain equal value. Paintings juxtapose the objects with their images of differing scales to comment on our relationship with past things. Artistically, I produce a situation to document this material and propose a story for each curiosity. I focus on the objects’ anatomy, deterioration, and tonal etiolation, an attempt to “challenge their disappearance.”
The cabinet consists of stacked boxes-- simple to assemble, disassemble and move-- like a wooden block game, suggesting the potentiality to play with their order. The boxes present and to store the curiosities which are not immediately visible. Open a door, then another, and maybe another…