Shahar Marcus’s new video work El-Rujm was inspired and shot at an archaeological site – Rujm el-Hiri that consists of large stone monuments, placed in the middle of a field in the Golan Heights. The purpose of the monument, as well as the identity of those who built it are still unknown. Archaeologists presume that this site served as a religious centre where various rituals took place. Furthermore, it strongly resembles ‘crop circles’, consequently bringing to mind an alien intervention. The enigmatic nature of the site and its visual appearance led Marcus to create this work, referencing sci-fi genre films, while also continuing his previous works that dealt with themes of archeology, ecology and revelation (Seeds, Frog Test and Geniza).
Similar to other works, in which Marcus portrays different characters, here he embodies the role of a farmer, overlooking a group of archeologists that extract a cocoon shaped data capsule from under the earth. This capsule is then taken to a group of scientists who examine it and reveal seeds, hidden inside a metal ball, containing universal data that was transferred between different cultures. The seed itself is biological yet it contains digital data, perhaps a sign of an alien culture that was planted inside. After the seed is exposed and the outburst of its data erupt the order in the lab, it is then placed back and buried once again in the ground.
The work itself is shot partly from above, and infused with an ominous soundtrack that enhances its cinematic effect and creates a sense of tension. The tension is preserved throughout the work, which remains enigmatic until the end. The viewers are left with open questions that are left unanswered. Marcus himself, dressed as a simple farmer also embodies the role of a healer – a shaman – a mediator of knowledge that was passed by different cultures throughout history. And so, the work combines reality with fiction, touching upon themes of sustainability, ecology, archaeology, history and science fiction, while remaining an unsolved mystery, just like the actual site itself.