Among stone industry workers in Palestine, ‘Tora Bora’ refers to the layer of dust left on skin and clothes after visiting a quarry.


During a three-month period spent in Beit Sahour, Palestine, we visited the most prominent limestone quarries (where   the so-called Jerusalem stone is quarried) and stone cutting facilities in order to trace the different aspects of the largely unregulated stone industry processes in Palestine—from the extraction of the stone, to cutting it, exporting it, and the regeneration of the resulting hollowed landscapes; mechanically-made canyons.


During the research process, we investigated the profanation of the land—“holy stone” from the “holy land”—a brand whose formation is indigenous to the fetishization of the object and is claimed by every religion and ideology around the world.


The result of the research, which included interviews with different stakeholders and field trips, was a video entitled Tora Bora. The starting point of this piece is the dust that seeps and stays with those who visited, cut, touched, or carried the Jerusalem stone. The only remainder for those who visited a territory that is physically disappearing. A nation of dust.


We followed the “dust” (the slabs of Jerusalem Stone) from the West Bank to Brazil  – from the moment the stone is removed from the bedrock in a quarry near Hebron, transported to the stone cutting factory, cut in tiles and exported, via the Israeli port of Ashdod, to its use as an actual wall cladding for the largest Christian Pentecostal church in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Whereas in Palestine we had seen a hollowed mountain, in Brazil we witnessed its negative: the Third Temple of Solomon. A game of voids and fills that responds not only to offer and demand but to the intricate geo-political context of ‘unregulation’, occupation and exploitation that is embedded in the Palestinian stone industry today. The material was brought into the country avoiding the import tax for construction materials, as the stone slabs where labeled as “holy objects:” they were, after all, coming from the  “holy land.” This practice was representative of the global phenomena of usurping ideology/mythology in order to support neoliberal networks of resource extraction and distribution.


Voice: Shehrezade Al-Ayoubi



Rethinking the future of the stone industry in Palestine

3 Channel Video Installation/ 7’34’’ ----- 2016