The work Heat Archer, 2012, video, 03:51 min, is part of a group exhibition, Re:Visiting Rockefeller, curated by Sally Haftel Nave & Yanai Segal at the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, Jerusalem.
The project was initiated by Manofim in the eastern part of Jerusalem. The exhibition, displayed in the halls of The Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, holds ancient treasures, which were found and gathered by the British Mandatory Authorities in the 1930s. A magnificent museum, one of most beautiful in Israel, was built in their honour. Yet many Israelis have never visited and those who did have done so a very long time ago. The museum was forgotten and with it the rare artifacts it holds.
This immense disparity between the grandeur and exceptionality and the neglect and scarcity of visitors clearly points at the deep wound engulfing the museum. Heat Archer by Uri Nir was inspired by the location and filmed in the museum’s courtyard. The scene was filmed with a thermal camera, which does not see light but rather senses heat. Nir creates a scene inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s story The Gold Bug, in which the characters have to pass a sculpture of a gold bug through the eye socket of a skull in order to recover the location of a buried treasure.
In a departure from the original story, Nir presents us with a water jet that passes through the eye of a human skull and hits the pool.
The fraught image of the water piercing the skull is captured using scientific means, and so the work brings together the polar opposites of science and mythology that are often at odds with one another when it comes to archeology. Here, science is summoned to portray a supernatural story and when these two polar opposites meet or offer themselves to the statement, the result is a powerful rhetoric. The absolute objectivity of the thermal camera and the disquieting supernatural image blur into a wonderful and terrible conclusion.
A work by Uri Nir was donated to the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art collectively by the artist, Braverman gallery and Outset Contemporary Art Fund.