Photographs by Shai Kremer. Text by Meron Benvenisti, Anne Wilkes Tucker, Talya Sason, Amiram Oren, Ariella Azoulay.
Radius Books, 2011. 136 pp., 50 color illustrations, 12x9".
Extensively covered by the media, debated by the governments of the world and claimed by vying religions, Israel is a remarkable case study for understanding the rise and fall of empires. By highlighting the country's historic architecture and its highly contentious ruins, Israeli photographer Shai Kremer (born 1974) questions how these sites figure today in the discourse of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the future of the nation. Fallen Empires invites viewers to consider new relationships between the histories and identities assembled and disassembled in the creation of modern Israel. As Kremer explains, “Israel is overloaded with sediments of past empires. More than half of the current IDF (Israel Defense Forces) strongholds rest on the ruins of military sites of former empires. The recycling of these spaces, from one conqueror to the next, shows how most empires tried to conquer and rule this land, with one similar outcome: they eventually failed.”