Foto Friday – Jerusalem Lights Up

June 11, 2010 - 4:41 PM by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Art, design, Foto Friday, General, Picture of the Week, Travel 

The Light in Jerusalem 2010 festival opened Wednesday night. This unique art event, which runs from June 9-16th, features 70 light sculptures, outdoor performances, a lighting fixtures design fair, and illuminated parade – all created especially for Jerusalem’s Old City, by artists from Israel and abroad.

The event centers around five different paths that lead visitors from exhibit to exhibit. Some of the highlights:

What Do Trees Do at Night? created by animation and video artist Joseph Meir Jimmy, explores the life and memories of an huge, ancient tree standing beside the Old City wall.

Designer Gil Teichman will light up the Kidron Valley with Fans of Light. Teichman owns Israel’s leading lighting company, designing and implementing lighting for private and business oriented events and large-scale technological projects.

Light Sculptures Along Hativot Etzioni Street is a humorous take of the role of art in public spaces by multidisciplinary artist Bernardo Scolnik.

A Mound Comes to Life is a projection and lighting installation in the City of David created by TR Lighting Design. The piece can be viewed –- in three parts — on YouTube.

French company Blachere will present the city of Jerusalem with Solar Tree, a unique tree statue composed of thousands of LED lights that work on solar energy. The tree, which illuminates the courtyard of the German Church, will remain there as a gift to the city.

The History of Light, a sound and light performance incorporating acrobatics, dance, video, lighting effects and pyrotechnics, will be presented throughout the festival. Tickets can be purchased from Bimot ; Tel: 02-6237000.

This is the second year for this international light festival. Last year’s festival had over 200,000 visitors – it was pretty crowded but definitely worthwhile. Take a look:

Foto Friday – David Shankbone’s Jerusalem

May 22, 2009 - 11:42 PM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Art, Blogging, Foto Friday, General, History and Culture 

David Shankbone is a photographer, writer and vice-president of non-profit organization Wikimedia New York City, Inc. He has also, for the last three years, engaged in a public art project on Wikipedia, in which he has released all his photography on topics ranging from landscapes and cityscapes to celebrity portraits, for the public to use. As Shankbone puts it, “I set out on a project to create a body of high-resolution work whose copyright allowed the public to reproduce it, even alter it, without my permission. Even for commercial purposes, as long as nobody’s personality rights are violated.”

“The totality of the work is a documentation of human existence” states Shankbone, who has photographed everything “from subway stations to Kanye West; from Madison Avenue to Madonna; from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the hills of southern Lebanon.” And, as of this past March, Israel, where he was invited as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For his project, Shankbone snapped pictures of Jerusalem that are illustrative…


and poetic…

…ranging from the Old City…


…to the New…

…the past — and possibly the future!

Shankbone’s Wikipedia work is an amazing resource, giving users the benefit of being able to use work from a photographer who is both skilled technically, and an artist in terms of effect and composition.

They can also benefit from his news-savvy. On Wikinews, which is Wikipedia’s news arm, Shankbone has posted over 40 interviews with global cultural leaders. A story about the project entitled, “Why Shimon Peres sat down with David Shankbone” is definitely worth a read as it explains a bit about his history and the project.

Eating Apfelstrudel in the Old City

September 18, 2008 - 7:50 PM by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Food, Religion, Travel 

Apple Strudel (with whipped cream)I had a conference last night in the Old City and had a couple of hours to kill beforehand. I was hankering for some good hummus but alas, the two best hummus joints in the Old City – Abu Shukri and Lina – were long closed in the late afternoon. So I abandoned my quest for some chickpea action and decided for a completely experience. I headed to the Austrian Hospice. The hospice was originally established as a hotel for pilgrims from Austria, was later a Jordanian hospital and is now back to being a hostel for Christian pilgrims. The front doors, heavy and wooden, open to a two-floor ascent and a wide outdoor space completely removed from the cramped alleys of the Old City. High ceilings and expansive marble floors are standard. Generous cushioned seating areas a cafe are available for all, as well as a beautiful outdoor seating area. And the Apfelstrudel. Oh the Apfelstrudel how I love thee.
Old City Rooftops
There is only one thing better than the Apfelstrudel at the hospice and that is the rooftop view of the Old City. Whenever I have guests visiting from abroad (or from Tel Aviv) and I’m giving them the requisite Jerusalem tour this is always one of my destinations. I bring with me my copy of “The Innocents Abroad” and read Mark Twain’s take on the same view.

The appearance of the city is peculiar. It is as knobby with countless little domes as a prison door is with bolt-heads. Every house has from one to half a dozen of these white plastered domes of stone, broad and low, sitting in the centre of, or in a cluster upon, the flat roof. Wherefore, when one looks down from an eminence, upon the compact mass of houses (so closely crowded together, in fact, that there is no appearance of streets at all, and so the city looks solid,) he sees the knobbiest town in the world, except Constantinople. It looks as if it might be roofed, from centre to circumference, with inverted saucers. The monotony of the view is interrupted only by the great Mosque of Omar, the Tower of Hippicus, and one or two other buildings that rise into commanding prominence.

Hard to imagine we are looking at the same thing. Perhaps we would agree on the Apfelstrudel?

Playing with the king

August 18, 2008 - 9:01 AM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General, History and Culture, Life, Travel 

 Forget about children’s museums and discovery zones. In Israel, when you want to take your kid out for some afternoon activities, go back 2,000 years or so and play in some history.

The Tower of David Museum inside Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s  Old City, just opened up their new kids exhibition – called Fortress and Fantasy –  and it’s a fun and educational way to get the young ones out of the house.

 davidThe museum is situated in the formidable restored Citadel, which looms over the Old City. Its origins go back to the Hasmonenan kings, a Jewish dynasty that reigned from the mid-2nd to the mid-1st centuries BCE, and fortified the area with an impressive wall and large watchtowers. Built on through successive periods of Roman, Christian and Muslim, Crusader,  Mamluk  and Turkish (am I leaving anyone out?) rule, the site eventually became known as the Tower of David, despite King David having nothing to do with it.

The museum opened in 1989, the chambers of the citadel were converted into exhibition rooms, and the Crusader hall became the venue for changing exhibits connected to Jerusalem and its history.

My seven-year-old  son got into the spirit of  exploring the tunnels, checking out the moats, turrets and climbing to the top of the tower for a the amazing view of the Old City and beyond. The new exhibition in the Crusader hall features a bunch of cool, interactive stations that are tangentially connected to  the virtual world of castles, myths and fantasies.

Technology developed by the Israeli startup EYECLICK, uses cameras and special sensors activated by both hands and feet, which allows interactive multimedia to coordinate video content with the movement of the kids. If anything, the group we were with was more into the games than the history aspect – a natural outcome for kids who spend most of their time at a keyboard.

A final station outside featured a hands-on Playmobil area for the kids to build their own  castles and knights. But my son – a Leggo snob -  turned his head away, saying  there were only cars and accessories available, and not the raw material to build a real castle.

An ‘ice choco’ quickly remedied his sour mood, and we ended the day walking through the swanky, outdoor Mamilla mall, also built out of a slice of history. Just another extraodinary afternoon in Jerusalem.

Weird Wednesday

July 2, 2008 - 10:43 PM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: General 

Today was a weird and wonderful Wednesday because the ISRAEL21c Jerusalem office moved to a fantastic new location. We are now located in Abu Tor, a beautiful Arab-Jewish neighborhood that overlooks the Old City. While our own building doesn’t have a view, it does boast a lovely garden with fruit trees and WiFi. What could be better?!

There was, of course, the weird aspect of moving in Israel or, more accurately put, Israeli movers, who know how to get things from Point A onto a truck, but are a little fuzzy on the Point B part. These fellows assured us that 1. they were experienced, 2. they knew what they were doing, 3. we didn’t have anything to worry about. Weirdly enough we – a bureau of experienced journalists from several prestigious publications – believed them.


And of course, we were wrong but it was too late. We arrived to a pile of the wrong boxes piled into our room, and office furniture decorating the garden. Ten hours of unpacking and one banged-up computer later (but hopefully still good for interns!), we are organized and back online.

It was too stressful for photos today, but they will come. Meanwhile, here’s the new ISRAEL21c mailing address: 18 Oved Street, Abu Tor, Jerusalem 93551 Israel.


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