Sea of Death, 2010
Sea of Death (Yām ha-Māvet) was performed at the Dead Sea in collaboration with Irit Amar in 2010. It is inspired like previous works from the past decade by the pathology of the Holy Land, a sick patient with a chronic disease of violence. Previously, actions such as cutting, erasing, bandaging and sewing Closure Maps, repeated in a Sisyphean way conveyed the existential dead lock of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the deconstructing the hierarchy of cartographic power.
The present work is the first of a series of performances that symbolizes the wound that runs within the human body and through the landscape. Here in ‘Sea of Death’ the bandaged body suggests both the slow death of the Dead Sea and human finitude.
Carried out at sunset, the performance took place on the shores of the Northern side of the Dead Sea, not far from Qumran. Known since Biblical times, it is an imposing site where life, death and healing coexist. Supplying balms used for Egyptian mummification, it later became a well known health resort during the Herodian period. Today the Dead Sea is rapidly dying as a result of enhanced industrial extraction of its minerals, a serious drop of its water level and sinkholes.
During the performance Irit Amar, currently practicing water therapy in a hospital in Mexico, wrapped up my body with sterile bandages until I was gradually immobilized and eventually disconnected from my environment as my eyes, ears, nose and mouth were covered up as well. Mummified and prisoner of this ‘cocoon’ I was then carried into the Dead Sea by two men working on the premises. Before parting from me Irit released the bandages that kept my two hands tied together, leaving me to drift away, diving within my thoughts into the Sea of Death. In this state of intense vulnerability, I recall thinking of mothers and wars, pain and wounds, death and useless hopes.
Cinematography: Brian P. Hendler , (9:18′)
Editing: Michal Shachnai Yaakobi