2012-13 | Kaser-el-Yahud, West Bank | Five Channel Video with Sound | Total Duration: 32 min. loop Edition of 7+2AP

MANDATORY PASSGE is a five channel video installation shot on a baptist site “Kaser-el-Yahud” (castle of the jews). The site is located on the west bank of the Jordan River, a few kilometers north of the Dead Sea and south-east of Jericho, and within the buffer zone of the Israeli Jordanian border. The site is believed to be where, after 40 years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites crossed the river Jordan into Canaan, the land against which they were about to wage a bloody war of conquest. Just across the river from “Kaser-el-Yahud”, lies Bethabara (Beit Abara), where according to Christian tradition, John baptized Jesus Christ. Therefore, in the Christian sacred geography of the Holy Land, it is third in importance only to the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

After Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, the area of “Kaser-el-Yahud” was deemed prone to terrorists’ infiltration and was declared closed military zone. Following that the neighboring monasteries were evacuated and the land around them mined. The only narrow passage clear of mines that was left was the path of about three kilometers leading to the river from the main road. A military road passing through minefields is known in Israeli military jargon as “mandatory passage.”

In late 2011, the site was handed over to the care of the Israeli Nature and Parks authority and has opened to the public.

Filming on location for almost two years, the work investigates intersections between the many facets of the site, re-choreographing real events that took place, isolating functions and movements, giving them new roles.

Editing: Nira Pereg | Filming: Nira Pereg | Sound design : Nati Zeidenstadt | Post: Tal Korjak

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