Posts Tagged ‘Sigalit Landau’

Group strips for art and tourism at the Dead Sea

October 26, 2011

A new day dawns at the Dead Sea with more then 1,200 nude people floating in its healing waters. (Spencer Tunick)

More than 1,200 people ― from Israel and abroad ― stripped and floated in unison last month in the Dead Sea for an art project titled “Naked Sea,” by artist Spencer Tunick. Since 1992, Tunick has organized and photographed individual and group nude scenes in such locations as London’s Selfridges department store, Buffalo’s old central train station, and the Aletsch Glacier (the largest glacier in the Alps).

His latest installation, at the lowest point on earth, was created at dawn on September 17 to promote voting for the Dead Sea as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature (a contest that ends on November 11, 2011).

Tunick has said about his installations that “the individuals en masse, without their clothing, grouped together metamorphose into a new shape. The bodies extend into and upon the landscape like a substance. These grouped masses which do not underscore sexuality become abstractions that challenge or reconfigure one’s views of nudity and privacy.”

Of his latest project, which I previewed last May, he said that Israel was the only country in the Middle East where he could create such art and that it would give the world “a new image of Israel as an open and vibrant democracy.”

Years before Tunick’s Israeli shoot, Israeli artist Sigalit Landau created art videos in which she appears nude in the Dead Sea. The first, DeadSee (2005) shows Landau floating in a spiral of watermelons that slowly unwinds. Another, Stranded on a Water Melon in the Dead Sea (2009), shows her trying to maintain her balance on a watermelon. Her work has appeared in such major art venues as New York’s MoMa, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the Venice Biennale.

Running for peace and tourism

Sprinter Giusy Versace, who lost her legs in a car accident, hands the peace torch to Israel Tourism Ministry Deputy Director-General Ahuva Zaken as they leave Bethlehem. (Israeli Tourism Ministry)

Several hundred Israel, Palestinian, and Italian runners took part in the John Paul II Bethlehem-Jerusalem Peace Run, on October 24. The run was organized by the Vatican pilgrimage organization Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi and Israel’s Tourism Ministry. The run began at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, pausing at Rachel’s Crossing for a soccer tournament between the Italian, Palestinian, and Israeli runners. Then the marathon continued to the Notre Dame Church in Jerusalem.

Among the runners was Giusy Versace, a sprinter who lost her legs in a car accident and runs with prosthetics. Participants also included Italian football stars Albertini Demetrio, Di Biagio Luigi, Tommasi Damiano, Peruzzi Angelo, and Bonavina Diego.

The run provided a rare opportunity for Israelis to visit Bethlehem. Though tourists can move freely between Israel and the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, for years the Israeli government has forbidden the entry of Israelis into Palestinian areas of the West Bank and Gaza. Similarly, Palestinian entry to Israeli-controlled areas has been severely limited.

It would be nice to think that the run was a first step toward a time when not only tourists, but Israelis and Palestinians too can move freely between the two parts of the tiny piece of real estate both groups call home.

Text copyright 2011 by Esther Hecht. Photograph of Naked Sea courtesy of Spencer Tunick. Photograph of the John Paul II Bethlehem-Jerusalem Peace Run. No portion of this text may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Esther Hecht. No portion of these photographs may be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Spencer Tunick or the Israel Tourism Ministry, respectively.

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Four things to do with your spare change

May 5, 2011

A port of your own: Now it’s possible
If you’ve ever thought of using your spare cash to buy a port, now’s your chance. The port of Eilat is up for grabs, according to the daily Ha’aretz. But you’ll have to act quickly. APM Terminals, an international container-terminal operating company based in The Hague, Netherlands, has shown interest. APM already operates the port in neighboring Aqaba, which is a major conduit between Asia, Africa, and Europe, and also the port in Port Said.

But you’ll have to get used to free lunches for the stevedores
Three years ago the port of Ashdod introduced free meals (for two) as a reward for stevedores who unloaded more than 250 containers per shift. The incentive turned out to be increasingly popular, and last year it cost the port more than $1 million, according to Ha’aretz.

But now the Treasury has refused to authorize this expenditure, which is not part of the labor agreement, and the free lunches are on hold. In response, the stevedores have slowed their unloading to 80 to 100 containers per shift.

At the Old City walls they’ll be kicking and tossing
In his zeal to make Jerusalem a center of culture and sports, Mayor Nir Barkat is bringing the beach to the mountains. Today and tomorrow city is hosting the 2011 Corona FootVolley World Cup—on a beach-style playing field in front of the Old City walls, near the Tower of David. FootVolley, first played in Brazil, combines beach volleyball and soccer. Place your bets now.

On March 25 the city hosted its first marathon and in June it will host its first outdoor opera performance.

And they’ll be skinny-dipping to save the Dead Sea
American artist Spencer Tunick hopes to reveal the bare facts about the environmental degradation of the Dead Sea by photographing a large number of nude people floating on its waters, Karin Kloosterman reports in Green Prophet, the online magazine covering environment new in the Middle East. Tunick is known for his installations that involve large numbers of nude people.

The idea of nudes in the Dead Sea is not entirely novel. In 2004 Israeli installation artist Sigalit Landau created a video of herself floating nude in the Dead Sea with 500 watermelons, coiled in a tight spiral that unwinds slowly. The video is exhibited at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Tunick, working with his Israeli partner Ari Fruchter, is trying to raise $60,000 so he can carry out his project at the end of the year. According to Fruchter, thousands have already volunteered to strip to save the Dead Sea.

Text copyright 2011 by Esther Hecht. No part of the text may be used without written permission of the author.