The Mount of Olives, or Mount Olivet, is part of a range of mountains that sit outside of Jerusalem to the east and offer unrivaled views the Old City.
Because of its Biblical and historical significance, as well as its views, I chose it as one of the places to set up my tent structure. This tent, which I carried with me from my home in India to Jerusalem, became an integral part of my journey. Wherever I went, I used it to frame spaces that are auspicious, or the subject of a dispute, or the reason for war at several points in history. The question of what makes a site auspicious intrigues me. Do prayers on land, in the water, and out in space have the same effect? Do different types of land or water or space have the same effect on prayer?

I took this picture while constructing the tent, before having layered it completely with fine muslins panels. As an investigation of space and air and how the two connect, this composition reminds me of one of the pages from the books I create.

At 818 meters (2,684 feet), the highest point on the Mount of Olives is in a neighborhood called At-Tur, where the majority of the population is Muslim. From this peak one can see the entire Old City, including one of its most recognizable landmarks, the Dome of Rock on the Temple Mount. A Muslim shrine built atop Jewish and then Roman temples, this icon of Islamic architecture has long been a sacred site for pilgrims. To enter the famous golden dome, one needs to have been born into a Muslim family or to be a practicing Muslim. Interestingly, it was an oral prayer that served as a password—worshippers were required to chant the prayer before being allowed to enter. The power of the spoken word used as a code fascinates me. I view my frame as another sort of oral code.

The Mount of Olives / Mount Olivet