Dance Video and Stills
Have mercy Lord,
My God, because of this my weeping!
Look thou here,
Heart and eyes now weep for thee
This dance video and stills series sprang out of a day shoot together with Batsheva Dance Company dancer Shamel Pitts and photographer Alex Apt. We bundled into Alex’s car and drove down to Nitzana, a remote desert location on the Israeli-Egyptian border, somewhere along the old Nabataean trade route between Africa and Asia. It was a cold, windy day and there was sand blowing everywhere – not ideal conditions for a nude photo shoot.
The theme for this dance video and stills piece is dictated by the landscape, and from the location between Egypt and Israel, in the desert where the biblical People of Israel wandered in the wilderness. To this is added the twist of the fence running along this border and a couple of refugee internment camps, recently constructed to stem the flood of African asylum-seeking refugees coming across from Sudan and Eritrea into the ‘promised land’. Here refugees are held without trial for years. The name for the piece is from “Rakhmok ya Allah” – the Arabic translation of “Oh Lord Have Mercy On Me” – both translations of J.S Bach’s ‘Erbarme Dich’, which accompanies this piece. The sentiment ‘God Have Mercy’ and Yehudi Menuhin’s violin inject what is originally a very Lutheran and evangelical piece of music with a ‘Jewish’ melancholy, a tiny lament at the end of each note.