SEEDS OF BLISS - גרעינים – بذرis an on-going event that takes place in neighbouring cities in the Middle East. It began in August 2012 as a humorous response to Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds, which was exhibited at Tate Modern, London in October 2010. People travel to a neighbouring city in the Middle East for a few days to chew sunflower seeds with their neighbours. The target: chewing together 10 tonnes of sunflower seeds and spitting the shells on the ground until they form a giant heap the size of a mountain. The participating cities are: Aqaba and Eilat, Nablus and Haifa, Beth-Lehem and Umm El Fahm, Jenin and Afula. The events take place in outdoor cafes, in a friendly and personal atmosphere. The procedure of recruiting the participants from each city, securing the necessary permissions for them to cross the border, obtaining the sunflower seeds by the tonne and the events themselves, are all being filmed and documented and publicized in the press in real time. Eventually, the mountain of shells will be shipped and exhibited in London.
SEEDS OF BLISS - גרעינים – بذر was interrupted in November 2012 with the outbreak of the Israeli Military Operation "Pillar of Cloud" in Gaza, only a few weeks before the "Mega-Chew in Nablus" was scheduled to take place in the centre of Nablus with the participation of hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians. Attempts to renew the project in 2014 were again cut short by the Israeli Military Operation "Protective Edge". The two wars in Gaza have made it increasingly difficult to carry out joint Palestinian-Israeli activities in the West Bank. Nevertheless, 4 years on, the seed-cracking events have been renewed on the way to the 10 tonne goal.
SEEDS OF BLISS - גרעינים – بذر takes the sunflower as an emblem of the Middle-East and produces a contemporary performance piece in unexpected locations, commenting on the relevance of contemporary art practices in peripheral regions and their contribution to the Western and international discourse. It challenges the notion of what is original and what is its reproduction, what is central and what is peripheral and their corresponding hierarchy. What does it mean when an Israeli artist ventures on a project of this kind in an area rife with politics and what are her chances of seeing it through?
SEEDS OF BLISS - גרעינים – بذر is a project by Noam Edry in collaboration with the Haifa Museum of Art and Artis Contemporary. Curator: Ruth Direktor.