SODOM / ESHETLOT
Sodom, both a mythical place and geographical and historical site, is transformed by JP’s art into a vivid theatrical vision, speaking to our current times. This poetic and political production is the result of multilayered research crossing archeological layers of tabu and longing.
The biblical story of Lot’s wife is read anew from a contemporary political perspective: Lot’s wife is a refugee escaping an air raid on her town, while two of her daughters remain under fire. She stops and looks back. Her gaze disobeys the divine injunction “do not look back.” She is punished, turned into a pilar of salt.
The biblical story is woven together with archival materials recovered by the artist, diary entries telling the story of anonymous female workers at the potassium factory in Sodom in the 1940s. The workers are They too refugees escaping the war in Europe, and like Lot’s wife, they too are mothers torn from their children, a condition of their work in Sodom. Their previously unheard voice, coming from the distant factory and from the depths of archive, bears witness to their insubordination.
The stage is set with apocalyptic images from the real and surreal workers camp of Sodom, whose revenants still stand, though have been deemed a historic site with no entrance permitted: workers’ huts surrounded by fields of salt, a red river of bromide and a movie theatre carved in a cave.
The project Sodom fills the stage with a dense web of connotations and contexts: Sodom of the Sea of Death, destruction and bareness; Sodom of the nameless women making their voices heard; Sodom as a field of perverse sexuality and a facade to a history of homosexual persecution.
Sodom and Lot’s wife are rediscovered as contemporary symbols: land bombed from air, and a woman demanded to obey her husband until she no longer can.
Escape (words) games
And his wife will gaze through the clotted mist:
Her wedding night, the heavy dress cloth, her ill daughters
The workers are blotted, mixing dust, whispering prayers,
Poisonous plots inc, mourning mothers,
Through plotty roads, with blistered feet,
Voices a lot: who are they dreaming of? zealots! helots!
Girls squirming, failing, breaking.
Great God of plots!
A Great love like Lot's
Bed of sodom
Lot gives his two younger girls to be raped by the masses: “And Lot went out and shut the door after him and said, I have two daughters which have not known a man; , I'll bring them out to you, and you do to them as is good in your eyes” (Genesis). In this small bed, the sheet is stretched by a machine, tempting and hypnotizing our gaze towards the hole, the trauma. The bed, like the cement mixer, is an object that is a body.
Luti- cinema in a cave
To make life easier for the factory workers, a cinema was built inside a cave in mount Sodom. All that is left of the cinema cave is a wall with a little window where the historic projector stood in the 30’s and 40’s.
The term “Luti” means sodomite in Arabic and appears in the Quran about 7 time. is derives from Lot’s name.
The cinema in the cave sparked my imagination and I started to fantasize biblical Sodom, or that of the Quran, as such with an active queer scene. Maybe even one with a drag club?
So, we are talking about desert’s mirages, right?
Let’s get back to the cinema at the Zionist Sodom, maybe the screening goes wrong and the multi-layered luti the biblical, Quranic and contemporary luty goes out of the screen and on stage for his last drag show before the divine bomb. calling Lot’s wife – or whoever it may be – look back, Turn around!
A text written by a female worker in the potossiom factory in Sodom 1930-1948 - Salt on a white wall
Remains of the pottosiom factory in Sodom 1930-1948