This article explores the role of the Temple Mount in the Israeli visual sphere before and after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, whose fiftieth anniversary will be commemorated this June. Each of the four sections examines the dominant patterns of representation at key moments of Zionism, from the emergence of photography in the Middle East in the nineteenth century, to current representations of the Temple Mount. Analysis of the four periods demonstrates that the visual characteristics used to depict the Temple Mount were neither natural nor neutral, but rather charged with political agendas. The photographs expose the deep-seated conflict inherent in Israel’s self-definition as a modern secular state that is based on a religious, biblical, and messianic ethos.
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Noa Hazan and Avital Barak
Rabbi Shlomo Goren was regarded as a prominent halachic authority in his time, with a Zionist perspective. He took an active part in the Six-Day War and accompanied the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) paratroopers to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The picture of him blowing a shofar by the Western Wall during the war was published worldwide and is considered one of the central symbols of the time. After the war, Rabbi Goren was a strong advocate of changing the traditional halachic practice of forbidding Jews to ascend to the Temple Mount. He was active in various political and rabbinic activities to that end for the rest of his life.
While the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa Mosque constitutes a national and religious focal point for both Israelis and Palestinians, there have been profound differences in the attitudes of the competing national movements to this site. The Zionist movement attempted to create alternative, secular holy places (such as the Jezreel Valley and the Hebrew University) in order to detach itself from blunt messianism, while the Palestinians, from the Mandate period onward, have emphasized their attachment to the holy site in Jerusalem. The revival of suppressed messianic sentiments in Israeli society, however, exposes the religious dimension of the conflict and accentuates the role of the holy sites in Israeli-Palestinian relations.
This article argues against the standard readings of Bazin’s seminal essay “The Ontology of the Photographic Image,” which are based on Charles S. Peirce’s account of indexicality but for reasons distinct from recent influential criticism of this approach in film studies. The article also moves beyond the accounts of Bazin in the analytic tradition, by building on a rare analysis that takes Bazin’s notion of identity between the photographic image and the model seriously. Whereas Jonathan Friday proposes identity to be construed as psychological, the article argues that, under the dual theory of light available to Bazin at the time, identity between the photographic images and object photographed literally holds for some photographs—namely, negatives of objects which emit light. The article concludes with an explanation of why Bazin thought the identity holds for all photographs.
Pascal Wallisch and Jake Alden Whritner
Neuroimaging research suggests that watching a movie synchronizes brain activity between observers. This is surprising in light of anecdotal reports that viewers construct their experience radically differently, consistent with contemporary cognitive media theory. This article empirically tests the degree of agreement in the appraisal of commercially produced major motion pictures. Ratings for more than two hundred carefully selected movies were solicited from a diverse pool of more than three thousand study participants. Doing so shows that intersubjective movie appraisal is strikingly low but significantly different from zero. The article also shows that these ratings correlate only weakly with the judgment of professional movie critics. Taken together, this study supports the notion that movies are an extremely rich, highly dimensional narrative stimulus with many degrees of freedom for viewers to construct their subjective experience in a highly idiosyncratic fashion.
This article examines the gradual conversion of the areas surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem and spaces overlooking the Temple Mount into national symbolic landscape. Within this space, ancient Jewish sites function as national monuments, tied together through landscaping. A continuum of space and time is gradually being created in the shadow of Muslim and Christian monuments, in stark contrast to the Palestinian neighborhoods. The visual and textual symbolism and imagery that accompany the space emphasize the memory of the absent Jewish Temple. Thus, the creation of national symbolic landscape is simultaneously the creation of a new ‘Holy Geography’ and the replacement of traditional forms of Jewish memory by tangible and visual memory. The absent Temple serves as a meta-image of this symbolic national landscape and as the missing national monument, thus reflecting and promoting the rise of a symbiosis between religious and national aspirations.
Adrian Martin, Mise en Scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art, Palgrave Close Readings in Film and Television (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), xviii + 235 pp., £60 (hardback).
John Gibbs, The Life of Mise-en-Scène: Visual Style and British Film Criticism, 1946–78 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), viii + 280 pp., £65 (hardback).
Lucy Fife Donaldson, Texture in Film, Palgrave Close Readings in Film and Television (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), ix + 194 pp., £55 (hardback).
This article sketches a commonplace yet neglected epistemic puzzle raised by the diversity of our film-viewing practices. Because our appreciative practices allow for variability in the “instances” of cinematic works we engage, many of our experiential encounters with those works are flawed or impoverished in a number of ways. The article outlines a number of ways in which instances of cinema can vary—including, for example, in terms of color, score, and aspect ratio. This variability of instances of cinema and, hence, the variability in our experiences of a cinematic work raise potential problems around normative questions of interpretation and evaluation.
This article traces the evolution of Yehuda Glick’s strand of Jewish Temple Mount activism, which justifies the demand that Jews be allowed to worship on the Temple Mount based on freedom of worship and human rights. Glick accepts that these values should be applied universally, including to groups whose religious and political positions are at odds with his. Glick’s views evolved from a seemingly opposite source—namely, Yehuda Etzion, a leader of the Jewish underground of the 1980s, which plotted to blow up the Dome of the Rock and eradicate Muslim worship from the Temple Mount. The revolutionary stream of Temple Mount activism associated with Etzion developed the ideal of a conscientious, autonomous activist who employs the discourse of civil liberties in opposition to the state. Yehuda Glick and his initiative combined this ideal with the recognition of the Palestinian Other developed by Rabbis ShaGaR and Froman.
Opening this issue of Projections is a provocative article by Ted Nannicelli exploring the myriad ways viewers today may encounter movies and the issues these modes of encounter pose for conceptions of cinema that emphasize a fixed, large-screen format. One of the ironies of cinema history is that, for most of its lifetime, cinema was seen as a big-screen medium, and many of its stylistic features evolved accordingly. Now, though, small screens proliferate, and many viewers find these to be perfectly acceptable ways of viewing films. The medium’s evolution into small, capsulized viewing formats challenges some of our aesthetic and pedagogical assumptions, and Nannicelli explores these in detail.