Isaiah 24:1-12, 2015
In the suite “Isaiah 24:1-12”, twelve 22” x 44” giclee print collages each show one of its twelve verses composed with contemporary Hebrew typographies. Each verse is superimposed upon an Israeli/Palestinian desert landscape and a diagram showing part of the Hubble telescope. The collages are accompanied by an annotated translation into English.
Translation of the Hebrew biblical verb into English often generates uncertainty. Past, present and future tenses are frequently conflated in these verbs, and aspect – whether an action is completed or ongoing – often remains even more in question. In his biblical prophecies Isaiah censured his compatriots for their greed, corruption, intemperance, and transgressions of the law and warned of an impending doom. We may look back at the devastation foretold by the prophet Isaiah in extorting compliance from the people, and ask whether or not it endures today.
Much of Israel/Palestine is covered by desert. As in any landscape, the horizon represents not only the end of what we can see, but also the beginning of what we cannot see. Every political reality evolves unceasingly on both sides of the horizon, both knowable and unknowable.
The Hubble telescope, in orbit above the earth, captures images of stars and galaxies at extreme distances. The light of these distant stars and galaxies may have traveled for millenia or eons. By the time we are able to see them, they may already be extinguished.
The unknowability of history is echoed in the unknowabilities of the present and the future.