Toronto-based artist and filmmaker Polina Teif’s Eulogy for the Dead Sea is a poetic experimental documentary and photo series chronicling the disappearance of the Dead Sea from its initial manufacturing days back to the 1920s right through to the present day.
As we all know, the Dead Sea borders Jordan, Palestine’s West Bank and Israel. It constitutes the lowest place on Earth and is known for its therapeutic high sodium and mineral-rich waters. Despite its name, the Dead Sea basin is host to many wildlife species and is superb for farming. Unfortunately, due to the diversion of water from the Jordan River and mass mineral extraction through evaporation pools, the Dead Sea’s water is disappearing.
Through sites of existing and abandoned infrastructure, marking its current and former shores, Polina’s film and photo series seek to “unify international conflicts through the lens of ecology”.
“The southern part of the Dead Sea has been developed into a series of shallow evaporation pools,” says Polina. “The water from the Northern Basin is pumped into the Southern Basin through a tunnel into shallow segmented parts which begin with an array of hotels and spas developed for tourism and end with the Dead Sea Works in Sodom, the ancient hallmark city of sin in the old testament and the Koran which is home to the largest mineral extraction factory in Israel.
“The evaporation pools are shallow, about two metres deep and utilise solar energy for evaporation, a method commonly used for salt and mineral farming.”
Polina adds: “The Dead Sea is a terminal lake. Meaning all that fresh river water that flows in, doesn’t flow out. It gathers over aeons and evaporates, leaving behind a rich concentration of salts and minerals. It also constitutes a finite resource shared by Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. According to the Global Nature Fund’s Living Lakes project, over the last three decades of the 20th-century, the Dead Sea has lost a third of its surface area.”
Polina Teif is a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker currently based in Toronto. She received her BFA from the University of Toronto with emphasis on Visual Studies and Semiotics and completed an MFA in Film Production at York University with a specific interest in documentary, experimental film, and video art. Her work largely stems from photo-based and experimental video practice woven in with political and ecological undercurrents. Discover more: www.polinateif.com.
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