DEAD SEA DRAWINGS (PART 01)
Edith Dekyndt’s project Lot’s Wife (2009), of which the film Dead Sea Drawings is a part, refers to the fate of Lot’s wife, Edith, as described in the book of Genesis. Ordered by an angel not to look back as they flee the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Edith fails to comply and takes one last look behind her, turning immediately into a pillar of salt.
Situated 422 meters below sea level the Dead Sea is the lowest lake on earth, whilst the region around it is both the cradle of the world’s three main monotheist religions and the site of geo-political tensions, and disputes about water resources between Israel, the kingdom of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Each year the Dead Sea shrinks considerably and it seems inevitable that it will disappear in the course of the decades to come. The exceptional physical properties of the salt lake – chiefly its high salinity - make it especially interesting to study; people bathing in the water become weightless and float, whilst the high salinity makes life in the water impossible.
In Dead Sea Drawings, Dekyndt films the surface of the Dead Sea, under which she has placed a sheet of white paper. The shadow of the minerals in the water surface creates a random drawing on the paper: an endless variation of arabesques, which in most Arab countries appear as both writing and motif. The play of arabesques also refers to the Dead Sea Scrolls: a series of Hebrew manuscripts that were discovered in caves near the lake, and which are the oldest known Biblical texts.