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Makhtesh (Open, Closed, Open)

Single Channel video, 2:47 min, loop.

"Jewish history and world history/grind me between them like two grindstones, sometimes/to a powder." –Yehuda Amichai

The word makhtesh is the Hebrew word for a mortar grinder, and also describes a type of colorful geological formation caused by erosion, typical of the Negev and Sinai. This video explores interwoven histories connected through a common geological material, Jerusalem Stone. Jerusalem Stone can symbolize connection to Jewish identity or assert dangerous colonial agendas. As a material, it connects ancient architecture to suburban sprawl. It can be a container for both trauma inflicted and trauma received, and it becomes a prism through which we project a sense of identity.

This video uses a digital grindstone, an AI network trained on a range of specific cultural touchstones: images of Jerusalem stone, the Berlin Holocaust Memorial, halvah, Daniel Libeskind buildings, synagogue architecture, assorted Judaica, interior design swatches, limestone artifacts from Tel Megiddo (the hill of Armageddon), and bones from the Oriental Institute digital archive.

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