From Imagining Antarctica catalog of exhibition at the State Museum Linz in Austria, and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, 1986, p. 62.

Mel Alexenberg

Two Cosmic Pivots: Jerusalem at the South Pole

The South Pole is a pivot point around which our planet rotates.  It is a significant point in the cosmic dance of the heavenly bodies through space.

Jerusalem is a pivot point on our planet from which powerful spiritual energies radiate.  It plays a pivotal role in major spiritual traditions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  It is reemerging in our day as a key pivotal point in time.  It is being renewed and rebuilt to mark the dawn of the Aquarian Age and the Electronic Revolution.

Mel Alexenberg’s art piece began in August 1985 when he collected earth from two sites in Jerusalem linking Jewish history in the Holy Land over thousands of years.  Earth collected at the archeological excavation at the Western Wall of the ancient Temple was mixed with earth collected from the foundation being dug for additional dormitories at the Universal Rabbinical College – Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav founded by Rabbi Kook to mark the dawn of Israel’s rebirth.  This mixture from the past and future Jerusalem is placed at the South Pole so that the entire planet rotates around holy land.

This act of placing Jerusalem at the South Pole is documented with photographs and a computer-generated map – a polar projection showing Jerusalem at the South Pole with Asia Minor, North Africa, and Europe surrounding it.

At the exhibition opening on 20 June 1986 at the State Museum Linz in the presence of former Nazi army officer Kurt Waldheim 12 days after his being elected President of Austria.

From Wikipedia: “In early 1941 Waldheim was drafted into the Wehrmacht and sent to the Eastern Front where he served as a squad leader. Much historical interest has centered on Waldheim's role in Operation Kozara.  According to one post-war investigator, prisoners were routinely shot within only a few hundred yards of Waldheim's office and at the Jasenovac concentration camp. Waldheim reviewed and approved a packet of anti-Semitic propaganda leaflets to be dropped behind Russian lines, one of which ended, ‘enough of the Jewish war, kill the Jews, come over.’ Waldheim's name appears on the Wehrmacht's ‘honor list’ of those responsible for the militarily successful operation.”

The press didn’t loose sight of the fact that Waldheim’s first public cultural act as President of Austria was to preside at the Imagining Antarctica exhibition.  He spoke standing in front of Alexenberg’s Two Cosmic Pivots: Jerusalem at the South Pole, three panels hanging at the entrance of the museum. The central panel was a computer-generated polar projection map of Jerusalem at the South Pole, flanked by two panels showing the earth collection sites in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish State of Israel, and the geographic South Pole where the US Navy placed the earth.  The captions on each panel where written in both English and Hebrew.