On the Optics of Mount Scopus
On the Optics of Mount Scopus takes the form of an imaginary commencement speech at the theater of the Hebrew University Mount Scopus Campus. The video work is an exploration of a particular plot of land, of less than 200 acres, that descends from the top of Mount Scopus towards the East. For the last 100 years, since the inauguration of the Hebrew University’s campus on the top of Mount Scopus, this plot of land has been the backdrop of major events in the history of Zionism and Israel. Since 1990 it has also been the landscape looked upon by the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, ever since it moved to its Mount Scopus campus. This landscape has been a subject for numerous paintings and photographs throughout the last century, and their number greatly increased since Bezalel’s relocation to the site.
The repeated subjection of the landscape as an artistic subject, is just one of the excuses made by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority in creating the Mount Scopus Slopes National Park. The actual reason for the declaration of the park, together with a series of National Parks around Jerusalem, is to limit the expansion of Palestinian neighborhood and denying Palestinian livelihood in the area. Through the reconstruction of the history of imagery at that site in a 3d model, the work explores the role of landscape image-making in the context of the Zionist colonial project.