David Behar Perahia

David Behar Perahia is an artist and researcher, working on the seam between sculpture and architecture. He examines the interplay between art and action and examines the concept of "place" with reference to cultural, social, historical and physical-geographical elements. Through his work, he intervenes in existing places while changing, shifting and challenging the perception of reality as an absolute, creating an active viewing experience in which the viewers are an integral component of the work, from a concept that extends the relationship art / environment / audience. Common Views, created by Dan Farberoff and David Behar Perahia, explores the idea of Environmental Reconciliation, which touches on issues of social-ecological systems.

The photographs below from the Common Views project by: 1. Dan Farberoff; 2. Oren Amit; and 3. David Behar.

Describe the nature around you at the moment.

Right now I can hear the owl calling at dusk, it's a unique call that echoes in the valley. I can hear the flow of the stream and the wind moving the tree branches along the descending line of the valley. Right now I am in Mercatale Val Di Pesa, on the hills of Tuscany, Italy.

Where do you feel most at ease?

In balance between two kinds of landscapes, the more natural surroundings - where there is a majority of non-human activities, and the urban landscape - where I am attracted to the context and cultures of other human beings.

How does nature inform your practice?

As a site-specific artist, that relates to a place, the first layers to research are the ones that first bring a non-human perspective, the geography, natural patterns, the material characteristics of a place, the living forms of the place and their cycle of life, flora and fauna. Once that is learned and experienced with all senses, then one is ready to look into the human presence of the place, the various interactions humans had and how they still affect their local environment.

I find my creative process is mostly challenged when I am in dialogue with nature, its envelope of diverse context, and that is best when I walk, trail, breath, sense and meditate on the unique appearances of neverending phenomena. I look deeper to find if there are tensions, fractures and injustices in the juxtaposition between man and nature. These observations bring forward ideas for further research that conclude in on-site actions.

What have you learned about the relationship between residents in Tegel, Berlin, the biosphere and the city?

We have experienced a range of people's reactions to the project’s proposal of an urban biosphere in Berlin. As you talk to people, most don’t seem open to include a vision that takes into account non-humans that acquire similar rights and care as humans. However, we found that leading people into the urban biosphere context within an experiential and participative process, which is filled with many sensorial interactions, allowed flexibility and strong acceptance with the ideas.

The city has the capacity to blunt people's sensitivities and sensorial experiences while being in contact with nature, greenery and wildlife does the opposite. Thus I am certain that the perception of an urban biosphere is bringing a new promising area in the relationship between man and nature, which is based on solidarity and care to the other non-human.

Name a film, book or podcast that blew your mind.

James Lovelock, GAIA, a new look at life on Earth.

What kind of ancestor would you like to be?

One that is supporting, creating and taking part in communities that search and work for environmental and political change.

100 years from now, what does your utopia look like?

A world that has made a shift in the way resources are dealt with, together with establishing a horizontal approach and relationship with nature and its resources. Where nature rights as well as ocean rights, forests rights, river rights etc. are included in a holistic more-than-human moral approach. Where wildlife, plants, bacteria, funghi rights etc. are considered in every facet of man-nature interaction. Where energy and water are sourced in a "commons" manner, thus all have an equal right and access. Where politics and economy are fully engaged for the good of the planet and all its subsystems. Where humanism is care and action-based towards the other, humans and non-humans.

What question would you like to ask the next person on #TNK?

What actions can you personally do to change people's perceptions of care for others (including non-humans) and for the environment?

You can find out more about David Behar Perahia through his website

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