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Rachel Lev
Creation's Details

Title: Rise, O Well 
Year: 2001-2002
Dimensions: Five 70x60 cm sheets
Material: Sheets, perspective facades, audiocassette, five page text

Yaron Kupershtuk – development and presentation; Smadar Imur – vocals; Eli Wardi – theoretical outline; Dr. Melila Helner Eshed – textural advice

 

Statement

The concept of creating a well touches on borders that bisect each other. The mouth of the well is the border between what is above and what is below,
between the elements of earth and water and between life and death. The well itself, and the water it holds within it, function as the source of life to all who embrace them. Locating the well, digging the well, and reaching the water it then offers are all complex and delicate processes incorporating knowledge, ability, acknowledging the infrequent accessibility to this source of life as well as preserving the area of the well as a sanctified place.
Individual and group relationships are formed around the well, as the ability to approach the source of water functions concurrently with the ability to offer and maintain life.
Therefore the area surrounding the well delineates its space: either as a place where there is a heavy stone placed over the mouth of the well, or as a roundabout path revealing itself only to those who are ready for this discovery. Whether or not the well will continue to abundantly offer its water within is wholly dependent on how the people approaching this sanctified area will conduct themselves.
The book of Zohar describes two forms of knowledge: the knowledge pertaining to the upper world and that pertaining to the lower world. The knowledge of the upper world is completely hidden, joyously performing its duties but quietly, with a quiet that eludes any ability to hear this knowledge, and the knowledge of the lower world is incorporated in it as well. When it decided to let itself be known, “One voice was created and was heard.” Once the voice was heard, men and women could then uncover its secret, and with this knowledge “prepare themselves within this voice.”
The act of digging deep into the ground, sometimes to a depth of dozens of meters, is analogous to the process men and women must undergo until the door is opened for them to hear the voice. These are not simple issues. They demand effort, diligence, insight and knowledge. When these attributes are hidden, deep within the wells, the ability to approach the “source of the water” is blocked and a border that we cannot cross over is then created. We try, as much as we can, to grab these rare, transient moments of sanctity in our lives, but the area that we are attempting to sanctify, and around which we erect a wall, can exist as a memory and not as an ongoing reality – unless we can connect, again and again to that very same knowledge. Paradoxically, what we term “the border of sanctity” is in fact the pairing that takes place when an opening is created in the “border” or the “area”, after we learn to look deeply into the face of those standing opposite us, and after they come to recognize the depth within us. When we stand, face to face, with complete knowledge, a true connection can occur, and then: “Everything is one place, one will, one desire, one assemblage, one link, and this is everyone’s wish and there is no separation between the source and between the well and all is one” (The Book of Zohar).
Surrounding the well: the idea was to design the well as a heart set within a surrounding garden, with men and women moving from one interior space to the next, until they reach the center – the mouth of the well. This will enable everyone approaching the well to gradually look within, thereby deepening their individual connection to their surroundings, especially as it pertains to ideas: water above and below, the outpouring of water, and potential of connecting to the place as a life-affirming act, symbolizing the connection to the source of knowledge in the upper world.
The site of the well was constructed in the heart of the Bet Netofa Valley in the Galilee. The Eastern edge of the valley contains an undeveloped area composed of two hills with a height of 27 meters. The hills face each other and border the fields between them. The fields belong to the Jews, Suffi Arabs and Bedouin who live in the area. The valley is used for agricultural purposes. The boundaries created by the agriculturally developed fields are clearly visible and a bird’s eye view of their design and shapes is testament to the communal responsibility to work the land. The area of the well is but one part of the entire field. Its dimensions and delineation are similar to the other sections of the field. It is jointly owned by the owners of the surrounding fields and it is cultivated as are the other fields.
The concept is that a sanctified domain can retain its sanctity only when the individuals tending it will reconnect to knowledge, which was itself created by this connection. This sanctified domain is a place where “the absence of a boundary” takes place and this affords internal and external movement. This understanding is reflected in the way in which the fields, bordering on the area of the well, the garden, enter into its domain and become part of it. The well can then be surrounded by fields offering a variegated assortment of plants and flowers, each with its own unique beauty, and visitors can wander in and among these areas.
The well: The well will be a functioning well. Visitors standing near the mouth of the well will occasionally be able to hear the sounds of the water, along with other sounds emanating from the well. The well is then expressed by means of musical sounds and words. Special lighting will be installed in the interior space of the well and it will be illuminated after dark. Drawing and drinking water from the well will be only part of the overall process. The well was situated at the Western edge of the field, close to the field’s boundary. It is reasonable to assume that those living and working there will know about the well, even though its positioning in the landscape is not exposed or obvious. The area surrounding the well will be built from a convex, asymmetrical rock, shaping it as a small hill. A narrow opening in the center of the rock will create a window, through which to look into the well, but without the possibility of drawing water. It will be possible to sit in the area, or lie down, or stand, and hear the sounds from within the well, and at night to view its depth, illuminated with sound. It will only be possible to remove the stone from the well if many people, contributing their knowledge, good will and joint efforts work together.
Building the well: Building the well is meant to be a collaborative effort among the local populations which are at times in conflict. Prior to the actual building of the well (if it does indeed take place) there will be meetings between the different groups in an attempt to mediate between the groups and prevent conflict. The cultural sources of all the groups involved that relate to wells will be studied. Perhaps this joint, communal effort can then enter the consciousness of the participants and become a basis for peace and the ability to for everything to return to its natural place and order.

 

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