Spencer Tunick will return to Israel this September to celebrate the anniversary of last year’s wildly controversial Dead Sea naked photo shoot. Designed to draw attention to the plight of the hyper-saline (and dangerously endangered) lake shared by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories, the art campaign was enormously successful even though it drew widespread criticism from local politicians and religious groups opposed to public nudity. This year’s float serves a dual purpose: to maintain the momentum against activities that jeopardize the lake and to support freedom of artistic expression.
Float before the high holidays
Tunick’s nude models and others will reunite just before the Jewish high holidays on 14 September, 2012.
The main event will be held on the Ein Bokek Public Beach, where participants are encouraged to build a float in solidarity with the Save Our Sea – the Dead Sea initiative aimed at averting a worse-case-scenario ecological crisis.
Water extraction in the north end and salt and mineral extraction in the southern end have tipped the lake’s fragile balance so that parts of the lake are drying rapidly while other sections are flooding. Even so, developers continue virtually unimpeded with their destructive projects.
Event organizers encourage those who are unable to travel to Ein Bokek, a 90 minute drive east of Jerusalem, to build their own floats. It would be great to see Palestinians and Jordanians joining the fight to save the Dead Sea.
Our water, our treasure!
“This is our body of water, our treasure…,” wrote the organizers. “We do not want to see it neglected!”
Meanwhile, in June this year, Knesset member Nissim Zeev attempted to pass the Spencer Tunick Bill in order to prevent further public nude art projects of such scale from offending the country’s more conservative residents.
As far as we know, the bill did not pass, but Tunick aims to drive home the message that artistic freedom should be respected regardless of the country’s prevailing religious order.
However, those who think stripping down to nothing is a fun way to pass the day will be disappointed.
“This is not a nude event,” the organizers warn. “We expect people to respect the local laws and float together.”