Excavating the matter, unearthing the soul

A side view into the depth of pages from the
Hebrew Encyclopedia.
Years of collecting and
hoarding volumes of the Hebrew Encyclopedia
by people who no longer had any use of them
but also didn’t want to throw them in the trash,

form the foundation of this project. Masses of pages
upon pages, masses of knowledge; years and years of
hard work by learned folks who had carefully connected
word to word. How can you approach the mounds of
ideas, thoughts, information, history, science, and culture,

and even think about doing them violence? The awe
inspired by the written word paralyzed me. I didn’t
dare cut the holy of holies. The physical cross-section
of thousands of pages invites an analogy with our
historical and cultural cross-sections. A side view of

the paper and masses of volumes generated in me
a passionate desire to excavate the matter, not only
physically but also metaphorically: This was a desire
to excavate worlds of knowledge, excavate geological
strata that tell the story of the creation of the world and

archeological layers of information that tell us about
long-ago human cultures from completely different eras.
The intention of this project was to create a physical
expression of these feelings by creating objects to the
“extracted” from the material – vessels of an almost

primitive nature, containers of a sort in which we might,
once upon a time, have found hidden treasures. The
vessels are made of heaped layers of Hebrew
Encyclopedia laser-cut pages and are supported
by metal constructions similar to those seen in

archeological reconstructions. The vessels, inspired
by treasure chests, are filled only up to the layer of
the “treasure” found in them. That’s where the
“excavation” ends, as it were, and it will be possible
to see the treasure “discovered” in that vessel. The

objects were designed using 3D software programs
and cut with lasers, so that the emerging texture is
that of the paper’s edge. Every vessel is constructed
of layers of thousands of pages that were heaped
together. Their size was determined by the size of

the original encyclopedia volumes.

Client: On The Edge, Israeli Paper
MUZA, Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel
Year: 2017