What is it we see when we look to the East?
In western eyes, the East always represented the other, as mystery or as threat, and more often than not – both. But what we refer to as East, be it near, middle or far, doesn’t naturally exist.
It is, in fact, many things. It is the direction of the earth’s rotation and where the sun rises. It is the direction the wind takes in many cities in the world. It is an absolute direction on the compass. It is an unmarked borderline of cultural meeting points. It is alternative philosophies, ideologies, cultural habits. It is sometimes simply what is east of where we stand, and sometimes what we feel is “east” of our point of view.
From a city which is in itself a junction between the two oppositions, Jerusalem design week 2019 tackles the sensitive question of east. It does so not by rotating the view eastwards from a western vantage point, nor by looking at its past of cultural exchange and political conflict. In fact, it will not look TO the East, but AT the “East” – as a term, a direction, an absolute point of reference, and the set of relative relationships it generates globally. A future, not folklore. As such it will attempt, starting with the preconception and ending with the absolute, to diffuse the term through a series of exhibitions, projects, performances and installations, and an intense program of events.
Through redigesting the term, we are eventually faced with the question: What is REALLY seen when facing east, and whose East is it?