Far, Along, a collaboration with Brian Karl, is an attempt to look at memory traces of World War II as they interpret, rewrite and yet gradually depart from the constantly evolving present day Germany. The project will construct a document which will both question and reflect the overlaps and contradictions between the experience of private individuals on both sides of the division of “German” and “Jewish”, as well as unpack the unresolved stereotypes and seemingly integrated units or groups that this division breeds. The goal of the work is to undermine the danger of having the representation of even such a dramatic event as the Holocaust crystallizing into an all too familiar, nearly static History. In an oblique, nuanced manner, relying on almost imperceptible, digitally effected disruptions of images and sound of everyday scenes (as in our earlier work), we are attempting to elicit and tease out those marks of the past which might otherwise remain latent but which transform and interrupt any innocent view of contemporary Germany.
The piece offers a fractured, shifting and disorienting perspective on ordinary, day-to-day life, thus hinting at signs of the history which daily life masks. In attempting to comprehend the work, the viewer cannot but confront the fragmented evidence and point of view which the images, sounds and voices provide. There merely exists the recognition that all that is visible is situated amongst destruction and loss, in dispersed elements and fleeting personal insights.
The images, taken from a range of scenes shot in Munich, Germany, feature long moments of inaction intercut with fast paced movement. The shots are woven not by means of a governing story or character, but through echoing motifs which position the depicted minute events in the shifting space between a world documented or perceived and a world projected, invented by imagination, memory or personal perspective, both current and past. Shots are taken at various hours during the day and night of individuals at tram stops; scenes of eating and drinking in bars, cafes, restaurants, underground kiosks and domestic settings; interiors of trains; religious ceremonial gatherings; people waiting outside theaters and museums; walking, riding bikes; markets and side-streets in residential neighborhoods, as well as public parks, promenades and by riversides.
Visual motifs consisting of attitudes of body, simple gestures of hand and occlusions of face seen in passing as elements of ordinary life, allow the piece to acquire a textural cohesion that sometimes registers with a heightened sense of a private reality. These motifs include individuals looking away from each other while sharing a common space; staring blankly; faces masked in various ways (covering eyes, ears, mouth); looking at watches; looking or pointing up, skyward; individuals peeping directly at the camera; crouching; people repeatedly walking away from the camera.
Digitally rendered audio and visual effects, designed to create an impression of slippage and disorientation within the everyday, and to accentuate an awareness of the multiplicity of personal perspectives, are used to break open the image at its spatial as well as temporal axis by hinting at concealed spaces or “folds” within the frame. This are accomplished, for instance, by zooming in on one element while the overall composition remains constrained to a single, steady perspective, resulting in the subtly shifting ground in a park or street; by multiplying the images of single characters or by sustaining and echoing elements of sound and voice within a single shot; by effecting a gradual, unmotivated disappearance (or reappearance) of figures from what might otherwise seem a mundane moment. Brief segments of interviews with mostly older contemporary Germans are integrated in recordings of the ambient location sound. The mesh of voices and sound tilts back and forth between presenting any definitive possibility of a link and deliberately marking a gap separating present and past.
Our goal is to mobilize and even fracture the seeming integrity of the scene and the identity of the individuals portrayed, and through the cracks, to expose the overlap or friction between private and public, remembered and seen.