Associate Professor Ronit Eisenbach led a bi-national team to design Hot/Cold, an engaging art installation in Haifa, Israel, for the Holiday of Holiday Festival celebrating Christmas, Chanukah and Ramadan. Hot/Cold was commissioned by Beit HaGefen, an arts and cultural organization founded in the 1960s, whose mission is to promote tolerance and build a shared society. The theme of this year’s festival was "Play.” The extended horizontal surface was situated both inside and outside of the gallery and aimed to support efforts to spark cross-community dialogue and spontaneous interaction across religious lines. Within the gallery, the Hot/Cold table is an intimate object referencing shared meals. As it moves beyond the gallery it reinforces the temporary public space and the theme of play created by closing the main street for the festival. A heat sensitive ink covers the surface of the interior table. When touched, the ink turns clear revealing open-ended phrases in Hebrew or Arabic, requiring translation.
The table will be on exhibit at the gallery through April and will be the site of cross-community gatherings intended to spark dialogue. Ronit is currently designing a second table that will be used with Arab and Jewish youth in High Schools around Haifa, and hopes to work with UMD students to repurpose this idea for the UMD community.