The Archaeology of War

America once had a national war. It happened about 150 years ago. It was over slavery and state sovereignty and also about land. It lasted about four years, and the nation still can’t shake it. Now consider Israel. Since its beginning in 1947 it has existed in a perpetual state of armed conflict over ideology and land. Its divisions span millennia, not just a couple of centuries. And the technology of warfare is far more advanced. Photographer Shai Kremer has made a career of capturing the remnants of this conflict. His exhibit, “Shai Kremer: Fallen Empires,” opens tonight as part of the First Thursday art crawl. Rather than documenting human casualties, Kremer goes for archaeological and architectural evidence, including “shattered houses, remnants of corrugated fencing, and abandoned army barracks.” In Shivta’s Water Tanks, the fire on the horizon might be a beautiful Mediterranean sunset, or a recently bombed village. Zaura depicts two remaining walls of a stone-and-cement structure, whose gaping holes could be windows, or the product of artillery shells. Kremer’s images raise questions about the use of force in this way — and they leave the viewer pondering whether it’s really the answer.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 5:30 p.m. Starts: Jan. 5. Continues through Feb. 25, 2012

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