Thursday, September 9, 2010

Spray Paint and Stencils in Jerusalem's Old City

When I was walking through Jerusalem's Old City this past July-early August, I was intrigued by the bright spray paint and stencil work I saw. One of the reasons was the juxtaposition of modern, sometimes flouro, spraypaint with the old white(ish) stones of Jerusalem's Old City. Another reason is that some of these images were of trees, and I'm studying tree-cult in my PhD, so I tend to collect tree images (check these out). In fact, speaking of trees, there is a really interesting book on the use of trees within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict called 'Planted Flags' by Irus Braverman (Cambridge 2009). OK, obviously these examples here are probably political, being Arabic (which I cannot read), or else records of the Haj - and I was after all, staying in the Muslim Quarter. I'm not, however, meaning to insult any of my darling Jewish and Israeli friends or associates by exhibiting these photos. This is simply my record of an aesthetic reaction to colour and shape, and the surprise of it being on what I might consider 'heritage' buildings. (If you want to see the Magen David in spray paint, go and look at my Israel and Jordan photos on my Facebook site.) Yes, us tourists do, no doubt, expect Jerusalem to be all ye-oldey Biblical and not have any modern concerns or behaviours jutting in to awaken us from verging on Jerusalem Syndrome - I certainly do... But good luck with that, because it is 2010 - even in Jerusalem's Old City.


Unknown said...

I love the rose in the doorway.

Thanks for the Jerusalem Syndrome link, it was an interesting paper.

Caroline Tully said...

Yes, it is an interesting paper, although do you think they tended to classify what some might comsider simply religious behaviour as Jerusalem Syndrome? Sure, actually thinking you _are_ a character from the Bible, yeah, that's Jerusalem Syndrome, but getting very excited and emotional and perhaps a bit synaesthetically confused by being at a 'celebrity' religious site seems fair enough, doesn't it? I thought the article was from a _very secular_ angle, maybe too secular?

Unknown said...

I don't think it was too secular for an academic paper, they do want to be taken seriously among a wide, very skeptical audience after all. I think the type 3 patients were more than just excited and confused; they had a major (albeit temporary) personality change and followed a peculiarly exact series of actions, which is what makes these cases interesting to the psychologist, honestly.

The mystic in me does wonder, though, if this might be more of a case of something trying to "push through" these people, rather than the author's (good) suggestion of them trying to "bridge a subconscious gap".

In any case I think we should read the word "syndrome" as "event", instead of "sickness", as some automatically do.