Oriental Arch

Oriental Arch

2009, HD video. Surround 5/1 sound. 18 min.

Oriental Arch is a video diary, capturing a single day at the Seven Arches Hotel on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem. Property of the Jordanian royal family, the hotel was designed in the early 1960s with a blend of modern and Eastern “orientalist” design, to create a feeling of streamlined comfort and luxurious splendor. The hotel operated for several years as an Intercontinental Hotel, hosting, among others, the founding conference of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and signing of the first Palestinian National Charter in 1964. Israel assumed control of the region after the Six-Day War in 1967, and ever since the hotel has been managed by the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property. Due to political sensitivity between Israel and Jordan, the state has not made changes to the property, and the hotel languishes in relative obscurity. With a series of slow, lingering shots designed to make the viewer aware of the sluggish passage of time, Evron’s camera dispassionately records the hotel staff—who are mostly Palestinian men—performing their daily routines in the lobby, hallways, kitchen and laundry room, despite the scarcity of guests. The video has no dialogue or narrative arc, other than the passing of time, from morning to night. The hotel feels like a place stuck in a loop of activity, yet outside of time.  (LR)