As part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, Under the Mountain is a programme of political art in public spaces comprising a festival of two parts: a two-day long School for New Public Art for learning, discussion and performance; and a series of projects and actions in some of Jerusalem’s most iconic sites, to include the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), the Western Wall, the Jerusalem Municipality, Zion Square and the American Colony Hotel.
Under the Mountain New Public Art School – Jerusalem, 4th July 2013. Defined by the festival’s artistic director and co-founder of artist group Public Movement, Omer Krieger, as “what happens when public experience and political life are the medium and the material of the artwork”, Under the Mountain’s focus will be perfomative-based art that responds to and questions public space and behaviour, taking place in the fully-charged urban environment that is modern-day Jerusalem. Examining the relationship between the artistic and the public, Under the Mountain will invite visitors to engage as both citizens and artists, organically and critically, in the activity of state institutions.
The two-day event will host lessons, conversations, actions, workshops and a party, proposing key concepts, study cases and advanced practices in new public art. On the first day, artists, researchers, and students from Israel and around the world will lead a curriculum starting from the afternoon and deep into the night. High school students will present “Mayhem in Ghetto” (a public reading of the Israeli Parliament’s Education Committee protocols of a debate held following disturbances by students during a performance of the play “Ghetto” by the Cameri Theatre). Artist, activist and Big Brother star Saar Székely will hold auditions for anyone interested in spending a day under his gaze, and members of the Russian collective Chto Delat? will offer a lecture-performance, all leading to a party at the end of the day. The second day will focus on research and action workshops in the school campus and around town.
Projects & Actions
Debriefing Session. In the lobby of the American Colony hotel in East Jerusalem, site of informal meetings for politicians and diplomats from all over the world, artist group Public Movement will “debrief” individual participants in 20 minutes sessions on the complex web of political negotiations behind the question “Birthright Palestine?”, using the phenomenon of Birthright Israel, a programme that sends Jewish teenagers from around the world on subsidised trips to Israel. Continuing on from a salon series on this topic that Public Movement held as part of last year’s New Museum Triennial in New York, the debriefing will draw participants into the messy worlds of power structures, institutional alliances and back-room politics, foregrounding the transitional moment between research and action by turning members of the public into emissaries of this information.
State<Chronicle in the City Square. Every Friday afternoon for three weeks a new chronicle of the State of Israel will be read out loud in a busy city square, while passers-by will be invited to respond with an open microphone. The event is supported by The Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University, and The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon. Reading passages courtesy of The Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem. Curated by Udi Edelman.
Knesset Wall. Taking place in the assembly hall of Israel’s parliament building, in front the most famous public artwork in the country, Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem (1966) by one of the most famous Israeli artists, Dani Karavan, a new art guide will be launched that revisits that artwork, written by the art historian Adi Engelman and published by New Public Art School and Picnic magazine. Engelman and Karavan will speak, alongside Knesset Spokesperson, Yotam Yakir and Under the Mountain Artistic Director, Omer Krieger. A tour of the Knesset’s artworks will follow.
City Artist. Four artists will take up a year-long residency in different departments inside the Jerusalem Municipality. Each artist will be allocated a desk in a department of their choice, giving them inside access to the seat of political power in the capital city. Curators: Gilly Karjevsky, Hila Cohen-Schneiderman.
Ninth of Av at the Western Wall . The closing event of New Public Art School will be held on the eve of Tisha B’Av, an annual Jewish fast day commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, on the Ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. At the Western Wall, the most sacred place for Jews, the public will be invited as participant-observers to a ready-made performance of a mass religious grieving ritual.
Participating artists to include: Chto Delat, Dani Karavan, Public Movement, Situationist International, Sadie Plant, Tea Tupajić / Frakcija Magazine, Yonatan Levy, Saar Székely, Tights: Dance-Thought Alliance, Daniel Yahel and the National Children Ensemble
Under the Mountain runs from 11-15 July 2013