What Remains of the Day - 71 Years after the End of WWII
With this project I explore issues of memory and time. The memory of WWII in Germany is fading as people who experienced the war firsthand get older and die. Many oral histories have been recorded but once the survivors die, most of their memories will be buried with them. Yet the memory of WWII is living history because the recent arrival of refugees from the Middle East and Africa has reinvigorated important questions. Most notably: what responsibilities do Germans have based on their/our history?
I explore these issues by visiting places in and outside Berlin that were important for the creation of the Third Reich and for Hitler’s aims of extending the ‘Lebensraum’ for the Germans to the East, of proceeding with the ‘Endloesung’ by eliminating all Jews, and of gaining superiority over other nations. Particular places of importance are for example the concentration, labor, and death camps, train stations from which Jews and other people were deported, prisons, or public places in which important events took place.
I explore how our memories of these places fade by overexposing negative film for seventy-one seconds (this interval chosen because the intervention will occur in 2016, seventy-one years after the war ended in 1945). Overexposing film means that only traces from the photographed places will be recorded, which is the same thing that happens to our memories. Our memories are fragmented and not always clear, some are in color and some in black and white.
The project also includes interviews and portraits of the interviewees.