Shahar Marcus's new video work El-Rujm engages with historical,
archaeological and ecological data capsules that were buried underground
throughout different periods of time. This work, alike previous works by Marcus
(Seeds, Frog Test and Geniza) explores the desire to reveal
something that was buried under the surface, in order to preserve and sustain
it for future generations.
This work was shot at an archaeological site – Rujm el-Hiri – a stone
monument in the middle of a bare field in the Golan Heights. The purpose of the
monument as well as the identity of those who built it are unknown.
Archaeologists presume that this site served as a religious centre, while its
appearance resembles crop circles, thus bringing to mind an alien
interference. Marcus bases his new work
on the assumption that this was a place in which cultural rituals took place in
In this video, similar to Marcus's previous works, various professionals
appear, characterized by their different outfits: a group of archaeologists, a
group of scientists and a farmer. Each one of these professionals has a role
which he executes along with his team-mates. The archaeologists work together
in flowing movement, while the scientists appear to work in a more planned and
purposeful order. The teams work as independent units, aiming for one cause –
the exposure of seeds that carry ancient yet relevant data.
These seeds hidden inside a metal ball covered by a cocoon, containing
universal data which is transferred between different cultures. The seed itself
is biological yet it contains digital data – the essence of an alien culture
that was planted inside. After the seed is exposed, it is then processed,
categorized, preserved and buried once again, in order to serve as a data-pool
for future generations. The archaeologists and scientists function as the
artists' extensions – diving into a world of concealed knowledge. Marcus
himself plays the role of the farmer who observes the
teams from above and buries the seeds back into the ground. Thus, he embodies
the role of a healer – a shaman – a mediator of knowledge that was passed by
different cultures throughout history.
This work combines elements of ecology, archaeology, history and science
fiction. Exploring the idea of sustainability and preservation as the ultimate
hope for the future of humanity.