[-empyre-] Monika Weiss -- Shrouds, 2012-2013 (as addendum to Lamentation)
agora158 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 5 22:41:50 EST 2012
Beautiful text, Monika! When I was a child (I was a very precocius
reader :) and read history of Rome and Greece. My favorite was the
history of Carthage and I was shocked how the city was erased and the
Romans threw salt in it to avoid the Carthagineses should build it
These horrible fate of a city was a nightmare for me and I asked my
grandfather if our city could have the same fate and my grandfather
tranquilized me, it happened in the old times, nothing similar could
But he was wrong and he wanted spare me the grief, of course.
I visited the city of Guernica in Spain some years ago and I tried to
imagine the eerie atmosphere of the city when the fascist bombs fell
over the city.
It was these atmosphere the thing Picasso tried to paint in his painture.
I searched the city of Guernica trying to evoke the day when the
city's heart was ravaged.
And what about the mourning today? It was a planted tree and a post
telling the day and the time of the attack. Nothing more.
On Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 1:24 AM, Monika Weiss <gniewna at monika-weiss.com> wrote:
> From a text I wrote about my current ongoing this year project "Shrouds".
> Do cities remember? Maps of cities are flat, yet their histories contain
> vertical strata of events. Where in the topography and consciousness of a
> city can we locate its memory? Maps of the Polish city Zielona Góra depict
> an empty unmarked rectangular area located on Wrocławska Street, across from
> the Focus Park shopping mall. Located centrally within the city this area
> looks abandoned, being composed mostly of broken masonry and wood debris.
> Inquiries to citizens of Zielona Góra indicate that many of them do not know
> the history of this abandoned area, including those who grew up near the
> Invited by a local museum to propose a project, I arrived to Zielona Góra
> (Gruenberg) knowing of the past history of the unmarked yet centrally
> located ruined site. On June 9th this year I flew on a small airplane to
> film this territory and its surroundings. The flight marked the beginning of
> my new project that will eventually develop into a film and a multi-layered
> dialogue with the citizens of Zielona Góra. During the Second World War the
> site was a forced labor camp, which later became a concentration camp
> designated primarily for Jewish women. The camp was developed on the site of
> the German wool factory, Deutsche Wollenwaren Manufaktur AG, which supplied
> the German war machine with military clothing. (It has since been converted
> to a shopping mall.) During the war about 1,000 young women worked there as
> seamstresses and eventually became prisoners of the concentration camp
> complex governed by KZ Groß-Rosen. Towards the very end of the war the
> prisoners were sent on one of the most tragic of the forced Death Marches
> where many of them died.
> Looking down from the airplane we see well-kept buildings surrounding the
> ruins of the former camp, as though it were an open yet forgotten wound in
> the body of the center of the city. During the performative phase of the
> project, I invited a group of young women from Zielona Góra to spend some
> time in silence on the site of the camp, wearing black scarfs which later
> were taken off and left behind amongst the ruins. Their presence evoked the
> absence of the prisoners. In the dual video projection installation at the
> BWA, (an exhibition that initiated the project in June), the faces of these
> young women look towards us in silence. In another part of the projection we
> observe a torso of a woman wrapping bandages onto her naked chest in a slow,
> fragile gesture of defense, or perhaps caress. Her body stands for our
> common body, anonymous as if it were a membrane between the self and the
> external world. Awareness of our marginality becomes elevated into the realm
> of meaning through our brief encounter with memory and history.
> “Shrouds” considers aspects of public memory and amnesia in the construction
> of the space of a city and its urban planning. As part of this project,
> citizens of Zielona Góra are invited to propose how we choose to remember,
> (or not) the women prisoners who perished there, and how this fulfilled the
> goals of a systematic destruction of an entire population. Over the course
> of this year citizens of Zielona Gora are also invited to respond to a
> questionnaire in order to propose their own ideas for the development of the
> area, whether as a site of commemoration, or through other forms of
> dialogue. Earlier this year, after over 50 years of gradual decay and
> abandonment, the site has been sold by the city's officials to an
> undisclosed developer. Yet the larger debate in Zielona Gora, a dialogue
> about the site of the former camp and about the city's memory and amnesia,
> as well as about the meaning of citizenship and response-ability shall
> continue, to some extend, thanks to "Shrouds".
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
cell Sweden +4670-3213370
cell Uruguay +598-99470758
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth
with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you
will always long to return.
— Leonardo da Vinci
More information about the empyre