22 November 2006

Webart Blog

Webart: Global Reach in a Networked Planet
Artists in the past have confronted evil through their paintings, drawings, and prints, from the etchings of Goya recording the horrors of Napoleon’s invasion, George Grosz’s drawings of the catastrophe of World War I – the disabled, crippled, and mutilated – and his caricatures ridiculing Hitler and his Nazi henchmen, to Picasso’s Guernica crying out against the bombing practice by Hitler’s burgeoning war machine killing hundreds in a little Basque village in northern Spain.

Today, the global reach of a networked planet gives artists unprecedented power to express their moral outrage as a worldwide call to action to confront hatred, bigotry, racism, terrorism, genocide, and cults of death and destruction. Alexenberg's webart reaches out across our planet screaming, "Never Again!" Just as the world’s acquiescence to Hitler’s raining bombs on the village of Guernica gave him the license to proceed with preparing for WW II and exterminating the Jews of Europe on his way to global conquest, the world’s indifference to the thousands of rockets launched against Israel by Iran’s proxy armies, Hamas and Hizbullah, are empowering Ahmedinejad to incinerate the Jews of Israel as a prelude to his global jihad. Hamas, elected by Israel's Arab neighbors to head the Palestinian Authority, clearly states its aims in its Charter:

"Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him…. Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims…. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad… We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma introducing fundamental changes in educational curricula: 'I swear by that who holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammad! I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill'."

Designing Memorials for the Second HolocaustThe nations that did nothing to prevent the murder of 6,000,000 Jews in Europe or collaborated with the Nazis have built memorials to honor those dead Jews. They are once again doing nothing to prevent a Second Holocaust.

As a wake up call, artist Mel Alexenberg proposes designing in advance Holocaust memorials for the 6,000,000 Israeli Jews incinerated by an Iranian nuclear bomb that nobody tried to stop.

No One Cares if Israel is Wiped off the Map
Former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu explained in his recent talk in Los Angeles:

“It’s 1938, and Iran is Germany, and it’s racing to arm itself with nuclear weapons. Same tendencies: to slander and vilify its victim in preparation for the slaughter. Ahmadinejad takes his cue from Hitler, and no one cares. Every week he talks about erasing Israel from the map, and no one says anything.”

Alexenberg also proposes redesigning, embellishing, and enlarging existing memorials to pay tribute in a single artwork to all the 12,000,000 Jews who will have been exterminated.

Memorial for Arabs Incinerated by IranMilitant Islamist hatred for the Jews is so intense that they are willing to incinerate the millions of Arab men, women, and children living among the Jews in the Land of Israel.

Alexenberg offers to collaborate with an Arab artist in creating a memorial in advance for this collateral damage from Iran's nuclear bomb.

Islamic Leader's Warning
European Islamic leader Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia warns: "Many of those politicians who repeat days and nights 'we will never permit a new Holocaust to happen' are doing virtually nothing to stop Ahmadinejad and the danger he represents. We need to remember that plans for a Holocaust are unfortunately not limited to the past."

See the Writing on the WallYosef (Tommy) Lapid, a Holocaust survivor, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, and former Minister of Justice of Israel, warns that the dangerous chain of events unfolding today is Iran’s systematic plan to gain world acceptance for its nuclear destruction of Israel.
“The call by the Iranian president to wipe Israel off the map of the Middle East is unparalleled anywhere else in world politics. One would have to be blind not to see the writing on the wall.

Not only the nations of the world, but Jews too once dismissed Hitler as a madman whom no one need take seriously. It would be a tragic mistake to give in to that illusion once again.”
The Jerusalem Post (14 Dec. 2006)

Alexenberg's "Future Holocaust Memorials" proposal aims to open the eyes of the blind to see the writing on the wall.

First the Jews and then YouAlexenberg’s “Future Holocaust Memorials” proposal is an artist’s attempt to wake the world up to the realization that the dangers that face Israel are dangers faced by the entire free world.
The world’s indifference to Hitler’s murderous attacks on Jews encouraged him to attack all of Europe and America. Iran’s nuclear ambitions and aggression goes beyond incinerating Israel. It is a program of global conquest in the service of a mad ideology.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted at his Senate hearing that Iran is producing many nuclear bombs. Since Iran does not need many bombs to destroy tiny Israel, where are the others aimed? Senior military sources in US have issued warnings that the day that Iran attacks Israel with a nuclear bomb, it plans to simultaneously drop nuclear bombs on Washington, New York, London, Paris, and other American and European cities. Nobody seems to be listening to their warnings.

Alexenberg's Letter to Ahmadinejad: Islamic Art Teaches that Israel is Allah's WillPresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:Your aim to wipe Israel off the map defies the values of Islam expressed in the Holy Koran and through Islamic art.In Islamic art, a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern to demonstrate that human creation is less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs. The Islamic artisan does not want to be perceived as competing with the perfection of Allah.

Perhaps you see a continuous pattern like a beautiful Islamic rug running from Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern borders of Iran.
Shift your perception to see Israel, not as a blemish on the great Islamic rug, but as a small counter-pattern needed to realize Islamic values.

The ingathering of the Jewish People into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land.”

Switch your viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews over the Land of Israel as the will of Allah as expressed in the Koran (Sura 5:20-21): “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you.’”
As a devout Muslim, you should recognize the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will.

Professor Mel Alexenberg,

A Second Letter to Iranian President Ahmadinejad:
In my first letter to you, I proposed that you see the Jewish state in the midst of the Islamic realm from the borders of India to Morocco as Allah’s will. To seek to destroy a distinct people with a different language, religion, and culture, rather than honoring them, defies the Islamic value that a counter-pattern be created to avoid a perfect overall pattern that only Allah can create.

Take heed from the last attempt by an Iranian president to exterminate the Jewish people 2,500 years ago for the same reason – intolerance of a different worldview.

In the biblical Book of Esther, we learn that the Iranian president Haman tells Iranian supreme leader King Ahasuerus that he should not tolerate a distinct people with different beliefs [the Jews] in his Persian kingdom extending from India to Ethiopia. He proposes that they all be murdered. The king accepts Haman’s proposal and orders his scribes to write a royal edit “to destroy, to slay, and to annihilate all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day.”

When Iranian president Haman’s plot is exposed, his evil plan is thwarted and he and his sons are hanged on the very gallows that he had prepared to murder Jews. 

Avoid bringing upon yourself the same fate that befell Haman as well as Saddam and his sons.
Professor Mel Alexenberg

Alexenberg's Letter to the Iranian People:
Save your great nation from the folly of your mad leaders. Elect new leaders who will restore centuries of peaceful relationships between the Iranian and Jewish peoples. Stop Ahmadinejad from carrying out his genocidal threats to launch missiles with nuclear warheads to destroy Israel, an insane act that will be met with a response that will transform all Iran into a radioactive wasteland.

Listen to the wise words of your fellow Iranian, Dr. Dariush Ahmadi: "The present Iranian government and leadership are not the true representatatives of the Iranian people. The fanatics now in power strive to divert attentions from the crimes and tragedies taking place in Iran by disputing the Holocaust, one of the most ghastly events in the history of mankind. And this, in a country where, 25 centuries ago, Cyrus the Great liberated the Jews from the yoke of Babylon, for which act he is praised in their Holy Book!"

Join thousands of Iranians who are visiting the Yad Vashem website in your Farsi language (click on the link on the right side bar). One of the many postings of your countrymen on this site is one by Ahmad: "Your site uses very simple and unbiased language to describe a very disturbing and horrific chapter of human history, and I am sure everyone who visits it will come away with the firm belief that we must all work hard, shoulder to shoulder to stop the same from happening to our children and future generations."
Mel Alexenberg, Petach Tikvah (Gateway to Hope) Israel

Internet as a Powerful Art Medium
Kenneth Treister, artist/architect of the acclaimed Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach reponded to seeing this work of webart:

"Dear Mel: I do not remember being struck so sharply, like a thunder strike, by a work of art, in any form. It is so powerful. In a simple way, you tell a message that is both urgent and so sad. Reality is staring us in our face and we are blind. Perhaps your genius can make a difference. I never thought that contemporary art could speak clearly of important things. Your work has changed that perception."

From Art in Cyberspace to Action in Real SpaceThis website www.futureholocaustmemorials.org is a work of art in itself. It is both a prioric and dialogic artwork in terms of semiotic theory. This prioric art proposal in cyberspace is like a script in theater and a score in music. It is a plan to be enacted. It is also dialogic art that gains its significance through global dialogue, collaboration, and interaction in a dynamic expression of moral courage. This website is an invitation for dialogue based upon a proposal for creating future Holocaust memorials and upgrading old ones. It is an artwork in cyberspace designed to raise consciousness and effect action in real space.

Prioric Art: ProposingArtists create prioric art as proposals for artworks that can be plans for public art installations, scores for performance art, and proposals, scores, and plans for political, social, or ecological action. In all these cases, the prioric art can be presented as an artwork in itself even if it is never realized.
The prioric form is more common in art forms other than the visual arts. It can take the form of scores in music and dance, scripts in theater and film, or architectural plans. Musicians perform music created by composers, dancers move to choreographers’ notations, actors enact a script written by playwrights, and building contractors convert architectural drawings into buildings. Contemporary visual artists act more like composers, choreographers, playwrights, and architects in creating prioric art. Dialogic Art: InteractingDialogic art comes into being through dialogue. It exists as the interrelationship between people, and between people and their environments – natural, man-made, and electronic. Rather than the Hellenistic concept of art as imitating nature by creating images and objects, the Hebraic concept of art is engaging in dialogue to create spiritual significance in our everyday lives through acts of compassion, the courage to confront evil, and making the world a better place.
This discussion of how art creates significance is from Mel Alexenberg's book The Future of Art in a Digital Age (Intellect Books, 2006). Otto Piene, Professor Emeritus and Director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, comments on Alexenberg's book:
"Mel Alexenberg, a very sophisticated artist and scholar of much experience in the complex playing field of art-science-technology, addresses the rarely asked question: How does the 'media magic' communicate content?"

Content Summary: A Tryst with Destiny
Veteran diplomat Yehuda Avner wrote this powerful call to action in
The Jerusalem Post (8 Dec. 2006)

Politically and diplomatically we are very much back in the 1930's as we watch a focused, defiant and fanatic militaristic Teheranian dictator, fired by a nihilistic ideology, facing down the mumbling, shuffling and procrastinating appeasers of the European Union and the United Nations. Just as the enlightened world did not take the Nazis seriously then, enlightened Europe is largely not taking the Islamists seriously now....

In this light, given the enormity of the out-and-out horror the Iranian regime is concocting for us in its demented religious self-intoxification, driven by a theology celebrating a cult of death and a will to vaporize us and conquer the world, our public response seems to me to be asinine. Here stands a Nazified Teheran threatening the Jewish state with nuclear annihilation and the best we can do is to mouth protests as we try to rally a complacent family of nations to our side.

Where is the sense of irrepressible outrage, the uncontainable fury emanating from the deepest depths of a people's soul, bled white not once, not twice, but century after century, and threatened now, with obliteration by an insane foe?

This nuclear season of discontent will not pass until there is an international grasp that we, the Jewish state, are not merely blowing off steam, that all free nations lie in the path of the gathering tempest blowing from Teheran, and that there can be neither rest nor tranquility for anyone anywhere in the world until this tempest is quelled.

Desperate Desire to Destroy Israel
Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman explains Iran’s desperate desire to destroy Israel
The New York Times (20 Dec. 2006)

The most underestimated emotion in Arab politics is humiliation. The Israeli-Arab conflict, for instance, is not just about borders. Israel’s mere existence is a daily humiliation to Muslims, who can’t understand how, if they have the superior religion, Israel can be so powerful.

Al Jezeera’s editor, Ahmad Sheikh, said it best when he recently told the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche: "It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only seven million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab. The West’s problem is that it does not understand this."

The only way for Arab humiliation to be eliminated is for Israel to be eliminated. Ahmadinejad knows that he will become the great hero of the whole Islamic world when he wipes Israel off the map.

The Second Holocaust Will Not Be Like the First
by historian Benny Morris

The Nazis, of course, industrialized mass murder. But still, the perpetrators had one-on-one contact with the victims. They may have dehumanized them, over months and years of appalling debasement and in their minds, before the actual killing. But, still, they were in eye- and ear-contact, sometimes in tactile contact, with their victims. The Germans, along with their non-German helpers, had to round up the men, women and children from their houses and drag and beat them through the streets and mow them down in nearby woods or push and pack them on cattle cars and transport them to the camps, where 'Work makes Free', separate the able-bodied from the completely useless and lure them into 'shower' halls and pour in the gas and then take out, or oversee the extraction of, the bodies and prepare the 'showers' for the next batch.

The second Holocaust will be quite different. One bright morning, in five or ten years' time, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran's acquisition of the Bomb, the mullahs in Qom will covoke in secret session, under a portrait of the steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Ahmedinejad, by then in his second or third term, the go ahead. The orders will go out and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa, and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel's half dozen air and (reported) nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped, perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw off or confuse Israel's anti-missile batteries and Home Guard units.

With a country the size and shape of Israel (an elongated 8,000 square miles), probably four or five hits will suffice: No more Israel. A million or more Israelis, in the greater Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem areas, will die immediately. Millions will be seriously irradiated. Israel has about seven million inhabitants. No Iranian will see or touch an Israeli. It will be quite impersonal.

Christians United for Israel
Leaders of the Christian community such as Jerry Falwell, George Morrison, John Hagee, Gary Bauer, and Michael Little. They appeal to Christians worldwide to speak up and stand up for Israel to prevent a second Holocaust.

The Bible commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), to speak out for Zion’s sake (Isaiah 62:1) to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:6) and to bless the Jewish people (Genesis 12:3). These and so many other verses of the Bible have one overriding message – as Christians we have a Biblical obligation to defend Israel and the Jewish people in their time of need.

Israel’s time of need is now. There is a new Hitler in the Middle East – President Ahmadinejad of Iran -- who has threatened to wipe out Israel and America. And he is rapidly acquiring the nuclear technology with which to make good on his threat. If we learned anything from the Holocaust, it is that when a madman threatens genocide we must take him seriously. During the Holocaust, too many Christians were silent, and we were left to mourn the slaughter of 6 million Jews.

Today, Bible-believing Christians must speak up and stand up for Israel. We must act to do whatever we can to protect Israel’s 6 million Jews from the second Holocaust that has been threatened. We must get it right this time. Our faith demands it. The times demand it. Silence is not an option. Time is short and the challenge is great. But we must believe that it was for a moment such as this that we were called to faith and given the power to make a difference.


Dr. Laz said...

Let's hope & pray that someone will listen to Dr. Alexenberg's timely and important wakeup call! Like the infamous saying goes, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Alas, many have forgotten, and others keep their heads in the sand. I wish you much success with this vital piece and may it serve its true purpose - as a call to action to make sure nuclear weapons do not get in the hands of lunatic terrorists!

d_n said...

Perhaps we should expand this from the digital to the physical?

Suppose (past) Holocaust memorials throughout the world were "updated" en masse?

Uri said...

In addition to all that Mel has written:

I think we need to assume our presumtive place as a "light unto the nations" and dedicate ourselves to producing works of exemplary beauty and wonder that captivate the hearts and minds of the world. We need to shine so brightly that the world will stand up and take notice that a yet another of the world's treasures is about to be destroyed.

This, of course doesn't insure that the world WlLL take notice. But if our light does go out, I'd like to go out on that note (This doesn't preclude taking a few of the bastards with me ;).

fredleefree said...

This reminder of a "Second Holocaust" that history can repeat itself is an emphatic wake-up-call to each and everyone that this WORK OF ART must be forwarded to:
Every head of every country, and every head of every state, and every head of every city; And every head of every for-profit organization, and every head of every not-for-profit organization; And the head of every Church, and the head of every Mosque, and the head of every Temple that we are all SEVERALLY in danger of annihilation, until these "Lunatic Terrorists" are destroyed...

joel said...

Uri, well said. hope to the high host that it won't come to that. We do what we can do and more than we think we can do, and then more on top of that. The battle has joined and is reforming for another confrontation soon enough.

Shalom Mel, I just spoke to Dan J, he says hello. I have made my Aliya application and soon enough I will be home to help you and all our meshpucha with all my strength and heart and mind.


zeerome said...

With all respect,your fears in my humble opinion are over exaggerated. Interesting idea, a daring one,or if I may say a "dreamy" one. It is a Palestinian/Jewish Israeli problem,I do however believe that they should find a unique formula to live together,just like living together in a marriage that went SOUR.It will only be solved if ONLY the two parties wish to do so,without any outside interference. Genocides have been & still an ungoing buisness in that part of the world on BOTH sides.I do wish u good luck to stop that.Congratulations in advance.

ralph said...

Well done Mel. Your work vividly expresses the issue. There is every probability that Iran will get close to finalizing its preparations to destroy Israel. But Ahmedinijad and his ilk will be thwarted. I wouldn't want to be an Iranian when it happens, and I hope that the destruction of Persia will be as minimal as possible and yet remain a lasting lesson.

Palmerius said...

Thank you for sharing your project with us. The issue is powerful and terrifying, and the proposition of a memorial in advance of a possible event focuses the mind on other possible futures and on ways to choose between those futures. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently said of Iran "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them." . . . "That's a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic.”
We do need an alternate future.

Karen said...

Excellent plan. I wish you energy and success in getting it implemented.
Karen LeCocq