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December 19, 2008

A Distant Memory of Snow

Media Mill Video

September 4, 2008

Anita Wallace

walla027@umn.edu

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September 1, 2008

Voice to Vision Project response

About Voice to Vision

The Voice to Vision project helps Holocaust survivors and Genocide survivors share their experiences through art. This project has been directed by David Feinberg and developed through the collaboration of an interdisciplinary visual research team that includes participants from the Art Department, and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, as well as participants from surrounding communities in the Twin Cities. A variety of Voice to Vision resources are available for community groups, religious organizations, schools, and college art or history departments. Options include documentary DVDs, talks by Holocaust survivors, discussions with David Feinberg, and exhibitions of art that was created through the project. Individualized programs can be tailored to the needs of each group. (This is reprinted from the website.)

http://www.chgs.umn.edu/museum/exhibitions/voice/
http://www.chgs.umn.edu/museum/exhibitions/voice/gallery.html

Review: Each of the pieces in this exhibition is a collaborative effort of artists and survivors. The projects were approached differently based on the past and present experiences and the survivors and the artists and different use of media. The threads that tie the pieces together are the humanity of the project, as well as the inhumanity that each of the survivors suffered and survived. The projects pieces illustrate that by living their individual lives, through the horrendous narratives that each individual has survived and shared, there exists a universal experience, a connection through the human spirit. The project seems to be about both preserving the memory of the horrific events so that they will not be repeated, but also about healing through the collective and collaborative
re-[membering] artistic process. It reminds us that genocide occurs daily throughout the world and connects us to the experience and individuals whose lives are permanently changed by these experiences. All of the pieces were extremely powerful. The work that particularly struck me was the story of Murray Brandy in “My Name was #133909 and I Sang.? He tells the story of walking in the forest, guarded by the SS, pushing a heavy four-wheeler without food, without water, and witness to brutal killing and death. He tells the story of how his life was randomly spared by singing a song.

Elegy: a mixed media installation by Diane Grace Goodman

Artist’s statement:

“An elegy is a poem that laments death…one’s own mortality, the loss of a loved one, the extinction of a community, or the transience of beauty and the dying of light. The elements in this installation were made during the years that I participated in the Voice to Vision Project. Each of the corsets and the pinafore took shape in response to the women’s stories of suffering, survival, and strength. In preparation for this exhibit the original sculptures were reconstructed and reconfigured to form a visual poem, Elegy.

This sculptural installation positioned at the very back of the gallery, at the end of the show was very essential and powerful. I had to view the Voice to Vision Project exhibition in several different visits, because each piece was so sad and it was so difficult to take in so much sadness and pain all at once. The third time I came, I walked through the entire exhibit and found the “Elegy? poem at the end. Walking through the lyrical sculptures that spoke to the humanity and inhumanity of the previous narratives brought me to a sense of closure of the show. I experienced a healing of sorts that enable me to go out into the daylight again, to restore hope, but not forget what had happened. Comprised of a stairway, and other abstract suspended forms made of string, wax, shreds of garments, and wax, the spatio-temporality of the piece is amazing.

Freshworks critique

One of the things that I find was lacking in this exhibition was a general statement about the show, its mission and theme, unity, or background. There is nothing posted that provides the viewer with an entry into the space, nor that indicates how the show came about, what its purpose is, why or how the artists were selected to exhibit together or how that process came about. This makes it difficult to have a context to ground the compilation of the works together, and to contextualize the critique and the responses of the observer.

That said, the three pieces that I was most drawn to in the student gallery were the works of Ben Garthus, Toby Sisson, and Bart Vargas. Two of the works are paintings, and one of is a sculpture.

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