Summer Travels 2011…(6)

After another frustrating day at ‘work’, I headed out to Bezalel Academy’s West Jerusalem campus to see their architecture Graduate Show…

Whilst the standard of work / presentation wasn;t a million miles away from that seen in the UK, we uncovered a few interesting acts from our guide (one of the graduating students whose work was exhibited in the ‘best’ (entrance) room). Although Bezalel is considered the most left-wing of Israeli universities, all of its teaching staff are Israeli, with not a single member of staff from abroad. This in itself would be unusual in a UK context, but most striking of all was that there was not a single diploma or masters unit that focussed on the issues surrounding planning and conflict – i.e. Israel and Palestine. Given its left-wing reputation, it is telling that even Bezalel cannot explicitly challenge Israeli indoctrination in its education system.

Some of the work I saw is shown above, but once again the walk home from the Israeli side of the city proved thought provoking. As you drift from West to East, the city dies around you s you pass from the affluent, Israeli side of the city to the disputed East, technically occupied territory annexed to Israel. The discriminant distribution of investment is apparent in the video below, which I took yesterday as I walked to West Jerusalem to go to the Mehane Yehude market, a well-known, bustling economic centre for that part of the city.

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Predominantly covered market, the Mehane Yehude is full of all manner of traders selling fresh produce…but in the evenings (and especially Monday evenings during the summer) it transforms into a hybrid entertainment venue, with bands taking up stages outside closed stalls, amidst traders still peddling their wares. The blurry boundary between daytime and evening, and between market and venue, results in a dense crowd that features people of all ages from toddler to pensioner. The younger generation becomes predominant as the clock ticks towards midnight, with bars and DJs spilling out into the markets alleyways…a great spectacle, and one of the West’s more genuinely human experiences amidst its otherwise carefully composed and watched-over existence. However, the market’s success has also mad it the target of suicide bombers, and many Israelis have felt the conflict reach all to close to home in the confines of Mehne Yehude. Photos are in the gallery above…



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Filed under Real World, Summer 2011, Thoughts

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