I have been spending a lot of time thinking about this two-channel video installation by Nira Pereg over the last several weeks.
I would like to share it here:
ABRAHAM ABRAHAM SARAH SARAH. Hebron, West Bank. Two-Channel High Definition Video installation with Sound / Duration: 4 min 25 sec.
For more information, a longer monograph about this work can be found here.
Accompanying text from Nira Pereg’s website:
“ABRAHAM ABRAHAM SARAH SARAH follows a unique event of a temporary “change of hands” of what is considered to be one of the ancient and sacred burial caves in the Jewish and Islamic beliefs. The Cave of the Patriarchs, always a place of worship for both religions, has been physically divided for separate use since the Baruch Goldstein Massacre in 1994. The current status quo is: 80% of the cave’s area is a Masque and 20% is a Synagogue.
However, 20 days a year, in accordance with special holidays and under close Israeli military control, the cave passes hands for 24 hours only, enabling each side to have full use of all the chambers of the cave.
ABRAHAM ABRAHAM follows such a “switch” on the occasion of a Muslim holiday, July 2012.
In a matter of hours, the Jewish area is cleared out of all Jewish artifacts, inspected by the Army for security, and stands vacant for a few short moments, before the Muslims enter with their own artifacts and turn the empty rooms into a masque for the next 24 hours.
SARAH SARAH follows such a “switch” on the occasion of Jewish event at the cave, celebrating the parasha “the life of Sarah”, November 2012. This is not a general holiday but a unique event celebrated specifically only at the Cave, as the cave itself was bought on the occasion of Sarah’s death by Abraham.
In a matter of hours, the Muslim area is cleared out of its artifacts, inspected by the Army for security, and stands vacant for a few short moments, before the jews enter with their own artifacts and turn the empty rooms into a synagogue for the next 24 hours.
The two videos are placed facing each other, 10 meters apart, forcing the viewer to constantly turn his or her gaze from one side to the other.”