Jerusalem, Israel 2007

Over the course of several hours, I sit in the library of the preserved home of the local landscape artist Ana Ticho, at a large table covered with books relating to Jerusalem, its history and its current status. Using black ink and charcoal, I draw in each book with a line that carries the landscape back to its primal state, under the layers and centuries of meaning, religion and history. Intermittently an image of an eye attached to my forehead is stamped onto the page. The audience is invited to join me at the table and look through the books as I work.

The work was performed for VIP, an evening of performance works at the Ticho House, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel.

We have a deeply rooted respect for the written word, the text, the book, as a primary way to understand the world, and our place in the order of things. (so much so that I wince as I mark up these old and non-precious books, books - of history, law, literature; records, maps, drawings and photographs-particularly books about Jerusalem. These books present us with tools for perceiving reality, filters for apprehending the place, the landscape.

Jerusalem in particular is loaded down with meanings and histories.

What is the relationship between these books and texts, the reader, the [naked] eye and the landscape it looks out at?

Anna Ticho ventured out, beyond the learned or imagined landscape she came to, into the surrounding hills of Jerusalem, and recorded what she saw; with a sensitive line she gives us a visual record the specificity of the topography, the vegetation. At times this 'barren wilderness' is framed or tamed (or) and packaged into the picturesque, the scenic. But at times, the line dissolves into pure mark, it becomes a seismograph of the raw energies that underlie the layers of seen and unseen history that shape the land. This line subsumes all into a field of pure energy, primal matter.

I sit here in the library of her home and studio, and continue this act of markmaking. Into books, about Jerusalem, about this land, books of literature, history photography, I scrawl incessantly, adding another layer to the layers of accumulated content.

This return to an unstructured chaos- is it destructive, [even sacrilegious] like many apocalyptic visions that this place brings out, is it too a descent into a kind of primordial tohu vavohu - (I think of Da Vinci's deluge drawings); can it also be vital, cleansing - a vision of a fundamental unity beneath battling perceptions of place.

The eye clinic in the building helped many people regain their sight.

While I sit, I stop intermittently, and stamp into the books with a stamp in the form of an eye affixed to my forehead. This 'third eye' moves inward - perceiving, perhaps, that flux, that unity that cannot be seen by the naked eye.