Contemporary Agriculture in Israeli Art. Curator: Tali Tamir 19.2.2015 - 13.6.2015

Ayelet Zohar’s video follows the unheeded, faded and dusty vegetation along the sides of the Ramla-Lod Road (Route 40) and its surroundings at a walking pace, exposing the continuous, tenacious presence of the sabra plant, which served as a border marker for the area’s orchards in the past. “To place a plant within a historical context,” writes Marco Scotini, curator of the 2014 exhibition “Vegetation as a Political Agent” at PAV (Parco d’Arte Vivente), Turin, “means to consider not only its biological constitution, but also the social and political factors, which see it already positioned at the center of the earliest forms of economic globalization.” The Italian show endeavored to shed light on different situations in history in which vegetation functioned as a symbol of social emancipation or subordination. Unlike coffee beans or cotton, however, the sabra hedge does not represent subjection and slavery, but rather erasure and occupation.
Zohar’s film, which fluctuates between dumps, paths, and deserted buildings, links segments into a monotonous, stubborn, peak-free line. The frame dropping technique, which edits the film at 5 frames per second (instead of 24 fps), highlights the fragmentation, blurring, and discontinuity. The film thus becomes a metonymy of the deconstructed, disintegrating sabra hedges, a fragmentary, barren space, like the landscape it presents. Zohar’s walking gesture metaphorically reinstates the lost sequence of Palestinian orchards and citrus groves which disappeared after 1948.