Architecture of an Existential Threat
Since its creation in 1948, the State of Israel has felt itself isolated and beset by enemies seeking its destruction. This collective siege mentality is best expressed in the ubiquity of the thousands of bomb shelters found throughout the country. By law all Israelis are required to have access to a bomb shelter and rooms that can be sealed off in case of an unconventional weapons attack. There are over one million public and private bomb shelters found throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories.
The photographs in this book offer a typological study of these bomb shelters and offer a window into the collective mindset of the Israeli people. Israelis have normalized this “doomsday space” into their daily lives, often using the shelters as dance studios, community centers, pubs, and places of worship. For Jewish Israelis haunted by a history of exile and persecution, these shelters are the architecture of an existential threat – both real and perceived.
Released in 2017 to accompany a solo exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Vienna, the book is available for order at Edition Lammerhuber.