Under the Mountain

2015 Under the mountain
  • Participate
  • Experimental
  • Original production
  • Discourse
  • Getting together
Festival of new public art

The Temple Mount is, first and foremost, a multi-layered history of irrepressible activity, replete with life and blood. The Jebusites, the Canaanites, the Jews, the Romans, the Muslims, the Mamluks, the Crusaders, the British, the Jordanians, the Palestinians and the Israelis have each staged their very finest on this mountain. It is said that this is where the Binding of Isaac took place; the New Testament tells that it was from here that Jesus of Nazareth was expelled; according to Islamic faith, this is the place where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. Here, the Temple stood; here, King Abdullah was assassinated; here, young boys play soccer on the Sabbath; and here was the biggest Byzantine rubbish dump. And here, today, in this very place – a 35-acre plateau 743 meters above sea level with two domes at its center – the most meaningful,  violent and  volatile rituals, struggles and performances continue to be played out at the tip of the meeting point between East and West.

The Under the Mountain Festival, in its fourth year, unfolded in ever widening circles around the center of the world—the Temple Mount. It examined both the relationships that have been carved into a history steeped in blood and the daily tapestry of life on the mount. The festival insisted on laying out for all to see the sacredness, the history, the conflict, the mythology, the occupation, the beauty, the hatred, the nationalism, the splendor and the pain that is contained in this mountain and sought to piece them all together into new combinations and understandings of the site, of the present, of the possibility of living together, of the possible and imaginary future.

The festival presented actions that offered a different perspective on the familiar and conventional narrative of the Temple Mount and strived to build and offer new ways of seeing and being on and around the Temple Mount: atheistic, humanistic and universal without taking away from the holiness, the past and the different traditions associated with it. They sought to highlight the architectural, artistic, archaeological, performative and symbolic significance of the mountain and to present new ways out of the political and spiritual impasse in which it is embroiled.

Temple mount

Artistic Director: Omer Krieger Producer: Hila Shitrit Artistic Director, Jerusalem Season of Culture: Itay Mautner

August 26-28, 2015