April 19, 2019

Modern Amulets for Your Everyday Life

“Jerusalem has known many masters and many faiths in its 3,000-year history, but one thing has remained a cultural constant: amulets against evil spirits. The modern city abounds with beads, pendants, pictures, strings, jewelry and a wide assortment of talismans — a custom that is shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians alike.

One Israeli artist is tapping into this millennia-old tradition and adapting it for Jerusalem’s 21st-century streets. In homage to this deep-rooted tradition, Jerusalemite artist Eitam Tubul launched the light-hearted “Amulet Authority,” an art project that has produced a variety of intricate plaques designed to thwart modern misfortunes.

Tubul said that instead of competing with traditional amulets, he struck on the notion of mystical remedies for the “very prosaic” problems of modern life. His plaques offer protection against everyday misfortunes such as hangovers, awkward silences and meter maids, or act as good luck charms for finding free Wi-Fi, long cell phone battery life or balanced air-conditioning in the office.

“[These are] things that people know can’t really be solved,” he told Al-Monitor.

Under the guise of officialdom, Tubul has created absurdity. The art project’s website informs visitors that “the amulets passed all the necessary and required references” — of which, of course, there are none. Tubul’s fictitious Amulet Authority bears a logo combining an eye and a fish, two common apotropaic symbols.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."

"What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change."

"...the pendulum of history never stops moving. Indeed, one of the few constants of history is unceasing change. While we seem to be heading in one direction, we must remember that there will surely be pauses, turns, and reversals."

""Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé," premiered early Wednesday and it was the fulfillment of all the ancestors' hopes and dreams. Beyoncé also dropped "Homecoming: The Live Album.""

"Seven in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 received financial support from their parents in the last year, including more than half of those in their early 30s. Almost three in five millennials said they couldn’t afford their lifestyles without the support."

"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."

"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."

"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."

"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."

"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."

"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."

"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."