While We Wait is a multisensory installation for meditation and thought, designed by Palestine-based architects Elias and Yousef Anastas. It is inspired by and made from stone found naturally in Palestine, which varies in colour depending on where it was quarried. The tiny stone elements, which fade from earthy red at the bottom to pale limestone towards the sky, are designed digitally, fabricated robotically but/and carved by hand, then assembled in a geometrical lattice that is strong enough for a free-standing structure. Upon entering the space, the surrounding gallery can be seen through the lace-like gaps, blurring the relationship between the inside of the installation and any location in which it is situated. This transition between interior and exterior is fundamental to the Anastas brothers’ exploration of “stone stereotomy” as part of their ongoing project Stone Matters.
The sound and video elements of the installation help the visitor to envisage or imagine its eventual surroundings by evoking the Cremisan Valley, where it will live permanently after being exhibited at the V&A. There, it will become the focus of the local community’s non-denominational Friday gatherings, which protest the construction of the separation wall that threatens to segregate people from their lands and isolate the historic monastery from the rest of the valley. In contrast to the wall, the installation will respect the landscape visible from inside and out. While We Wait therefore invites the viewer to reflect upon the situation in the Cremisan Valley as well as notions of self, containment, and the political appropriation of natural space.