On going project on the search for God in the Holy Land
“A Lesser Geography of the Holy Land” is an ongoing book project. In 2014 I spent 7 months in the Holy Land looking for what some people call God through intellect, evil, love, and imagination (each of them is an actual chapter of the book).
There is a space, psychological, in those who have firmly believed in God when they were children, and than have lost their faith later, embracing a dichotomy of science and religion, tradition and modernity. That lacuna, that was occupied by the love for God, still exists, orphan, often angry, but intact in their minds.
There is another space, geographical, an area where the important monotheistic religions have been witnessing a millenary dialogue with God and His Prophets: these are the lands of Israel, West Bank and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Today these territories, which are disputed between Palestinians and Israelis, Muslims and Jews, are synonymous with Apartheid, conflicted and unnatural landscapes.
It’s where these two spaces, one psychological and the other geographical, meet each other, that birthed this book. It’s a journey that takes place in the strangest, but most intimate of all the places: the space between the God that fled away and the One that maybe will come at last.
I combined text, stories, drawings, photographs I made with a 4x5 large format camera and old photographs I found in flee markets.
PREVIEW CHAPTER 4: THE CELESTIAL JERUSALEM
This is last chapter of the book.
How do you go looking for God? I decided that this was my key: “I’m going to live my life like it was a dream. For example, in a dream everything happen for a reason” This brought me in a strange dimension, suddenly things were overwhelmed of meaning.
I was in Jerusalem in December 2013, I was visiting many holy places, but honestly I never felt so disconnected to the “transcendent” in my life as I did in these places. I returned to my apartment one evening and decided that I was going to stay in from that moment on, just think and work with objects that I had taken previously from the city – stones, fruit, soil and even the head of a lamb that the butcher gave me at the old market – and make still lives. At that time, I had never seen anybody dead, physical death was scary and I wanted to investigate it through this dead lamb. Or maybe, even truer, I wanted to experience and express mourning in a way that I never allowed myself. I shut myself in for several days, following the decomposition of the lamb, accompanying it on its journey. Later I did something similar with a shark in Palestine.
I only realized later when somebody in New York City told it to me – but I’d been making a kind of altar.