Water as an Existential State

Water hardly disappears. It is part of a strata-structured geological system, immersed in the strata and above them. Their advantage is the capacity to move and find a place. The place of the water generates space. The power of the water originates in their rich capacity to move, to enable movements of life within and above. At the same time water is present above rocks and thus they turn into land detractors.

My project deals with the way the geological strata are merged in the presence of inhabitants who live close to them, and represent the linkage between political and spatial perceptions and the geological structure. In this project I present the large coastal village of Jisr al-Zarqa (demographically almost a town) whose inhabitants were originally Arab Bedouins who settled in a swamp area on the Kabbara plain close to the sea. The movements of the inhabitants along the history of this space took place on particular latitude. As they had to evacuate from the swamp and also to reclaim it as a part of the Zionist project of ‘blossoming the desert’ they moved westward to the adjacent Roman quarry where they live to this day. In this way they turned from landless individuals into a community of owners of a highly coveted land along the coast. They are however entrapped between rich costal settlements, between the sea and state-owned lands, between the fast road and state society. The distinctiveness of the latitude that crosses this space is the merging of the coordinative value with the value of the perception of the existential orientation within the given society. The concept of orientation (in geographical and literal senses) associates in this way between a local landscape and a spatial political reality, with the water turning into a carrier of potential and the land into a source of fear.


Relli De Vries

Relli De Vries is an artist and a landscape architect. She is based in Tel Aviv and presents her works in museums and galleries in Israel. For many years she has been involved in the research and writing on the language of geology and society of plants in Israel as an expression of political and cultural forces. She explores the behavior of plants as a society that reacts to Israel’s constantly changing situations and copes with consequent social and political problems. Among her works is a study of the transformation of the Akkub (Gundelia Turneforti) from a bad weed to a preserved plant and as a reflection appropriation and exclusion practices in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Another project is a spatial study of the coastal village of Jisr Al-Zarka as a reflection of the forces impacting weakened communities. De Vries is currently engaged in widening the research of the latitude on which Jisr Al-Zarka is situated to the larger Mediterranean-Asia context.