DATA MINING - Eretz Israel Museum

Shahar Marcus

Shahar Marcus, who works primarily in video, performance and installations, creates a semi-imaginary archaeological research domain, which is mostly located in the Land of Israel, for example in the Judean desert, Rujm el-Hiri in the Golan Heights, and Tel Megiddo. He makes use of a research methodology which is scientific, biological, archaeological, and geological, in order to locate, select, filter, and process physical and conceptual materials. The physical site serves as an accumulated knowledge base and as a place which embodies primeval history. As researcher, Marcus searches for concealed packages of information, and then actualizes this process in a meticulous staged artistic act which echoes plastic art and cinematic scenes, overflowing with questions on what lies concealed beneath the ground, on the past, and on its influence on the present and the future. The works depict a pool of ancient knowledge containing layer upon layer of meanings. Marcus does not offer answers. For him, research assists in understanding the past, but there will always remain unresolved questions concerning the present and its future influence.

The exhibition deals with a combination of what lies above and what lies below the surface, and presents the essential conflict between curiosity to reveal buried knowledge and responsibility to preserve it for the future. Marcus is present in his works in the role of the central “hero”, exchanging identities and playing many parts at the same time. Other actors appear alongside him playing professionals in relevant domains – archaeologists, scientists, mine clearers etc.

Research sometimes appears as a Sisyphean task which returns to its starting point, to the question with which we began. An example of this appears in the installation Perpetuum Mobile, in which basalt stones are passed from one bucket to another in an infinite loop.

The work Fossils by the artist Nezaket Ekici will be presented as part of the exhibition

*Data Mining – a term used by hi-tech companies to refer to data collection. The word “mining” also relates to the extraction of raw material from the ground.