An oasis that will spring up in Jerusalem’s central plaza and will try to let in a little air and add a little color to a crowded square that is painted in black and white.
In the dead of night, when most people are still tossing and turning in their beds, a majestic convoy of trees will be making its way to Zion Square and creating a new kind of grove that is half-alien to the concrete urban environment that will be their new home for three weeks.
Zion Square, which over the last few years has evolved from center of West Jerusalem, into a transit station for bank-train-work, has recently become an urban meeting point, but not in a particularly positive sense. In the agricultural work Out of Zion we will try to regain a natural foothold in the square; to create a dynamic open space in the center of the congested square, to let a little air into the jam-packed square, and to pepper with green spice a square that is so clearly divided into black and white.
Unlike their kinsfolk who are deeply rooted in the earth, the trees in our grove can move. They will stand tall in large wooden containers that are attached to wheels and will invite you to move them from time to time and to thus choreograph their daily dance, helping us create a new and ever-changing design for the square.
The ostensibly natural installation will provide temporary respite from the intensity of the busy city center, inviting you to linger a little in the new urban grove, to change the square, and to change with it. It will draw you into a neutral green space in which time and space will be temporarily blurred. Open your eyes, sit down under a restorative tree, lean back, and take a fresh look at this familiar space.
Throughout the three weeks of Mekudeshet, countless things will happen in the square and to the installation; some commissioned, many not. We promise to update you, either in advance or after the fact, but we strongly recommend that anyway you come to the square to see, to be, and to make your own changes.
“Out of Zion” is a joint project with the Jerusalem Season of Culture and the Muslala Group—Muslala is a community of Jerusalem artists and creators who combine art, society and sustainability in public space. A mini forest is being set up right now on the roof of the Clal Building—as part of the “Balcony Project”—a roof for urban farming which the Muslala group has turned into a space that combines an urban park, a center for art and sustainability, earth sculpture and building workshops and urban agriculture.
Artistic Director, Muslala: Matan Israeli
Artistic Director, Mekudeshet: Itay Mautner
Architect: Lila Chitayat
Project Manager: Eyal Lavit
Producer: Koby Frig
Agronomical Consultant: Ofer Greenfield
Construction and Earth Sculpture: “Adamahi Center” led by Daphna Yalon
Urban Agriculture: “Eden Rooftop Center” led by Ella Gil
Structural Construction: Shavit Yaron