In late June, I participated in a project oranized by Jerusalem- based artist Guy Briller called Going up: Jerusalem. This was a creative act by a group of artists, social activists and intellectuals who made collective pilgrimage to Jerusalem in pursuit of an alternative reality. Inspired by the recent spate of social protests in Israel and abroad, and focusing on the question of what social and cultural ideals should shape our world today, the participants walked to Jerusalem over five days during which they created, conversed and most of all shared in a wholly unique experience.
For my participation in this open-ended project, I decided to wear a penny mask during much of the hike (a mask which I had often work in Occupy Wall Street protests). The copper coin, marked by the visage of Abraham Lincoln, took on a new meaning in the Judean Hills: I became Abraham the first Jewish Patriarch, interacting with the other artists and poets and passersby in a series of spontaneous micro-performances as seen here. As the journey unfolded, I realized that my goal was not the holy sites of Jerusalem but rather the separation wall that divides Israeli and Palesinian occupied lands. On the last day, I travelled to Adu Dis in Easter Jerusalem with a few of my fellow hikers and we enacted a series of poetic rituals to the Wall, marking the end of the pilgrimage- a forced stopping point, a barrier and a question mark.
Going up: Jerusalem is a direct continuation of a work by the artists Guy Briller, Ronen Idelman and Yonatan Amir (in the framework of the 2011 Jerusalem Season of Culture) and it represents a courageous and highly entertaining attempt to examine the current state of Israeli society through art and communal introspection.
When: June 21-28, 2012
Where: From Neve Shalom to the Rose Garden opposite the Knesset
Project Creator and Director: Guy Briller
Co-Artistic Directors: Gilad Reich and Guy Briller
Production: Noam Kuzar
Artistic Director, The Jerusalem Season of Culture: Itay Mautner
“Today, September 22nd, 2011 is the last day of Summer. And tomorrow is the beginning of the Fall…of the Empire of Greed. These coins, though insignificant in value, are the seeds of change for a new nation built on equality and justice” With these words, spoken before the New York Stock Exchange, the seven performances of the Summer of Change conclude. We distributed each American numismatic currency from the dollar to the penny at the feet of the Gods of Wall Street in a bid to break through the mythology of Free Markets. Today we marched from Liberty Park, currently occupied as a democratic “Free Zone” in the mode of Tahrir Square (Egypt) and Puerta del Sol(Spain) to Wall Street- scattering the seeds of change as we walked.