Memory And Present
Remembrance and the Present: Europe's Memories
"Good old Europe" that has always defined itself as a picture of stability and tradition is now on the move. Faces from all over the world populate European cities, many of whom are citizens of the respective countries. Some are refugees, some were born in Europe. In her video-installation "europamemoria", Viennese filmmaker Ruth Beckermann collected faces and stories about various reasons for emigration.
The dynamics of migration do not only change local particularities but also collective memory. Behind every face there is a hidden collection of personal memories that often casts a different light on Europe's troubled history. Sometimes we observe a face longer than usual, zooming closer - into the zone of memories.
For the exhibition in the Dom im Berg Beckermann collected 25 stories presented on 25 screens in 25 projection booths: Joop, for example, born in Indonesia, placed as child in a Japanese concentration camp, today lives in The Hague but still carries the landscape of his childhood in his heart without yearning for colonial days. René, French teacher in Nice, a prince from the last imperial dynasty of Vietnam, was forced to flee from Ho Chi Minh at the age of eight. Wojteck came from Krakow to Vienna to study medicine and only there, at the bedside of a Jewish woman, began to ask himself what really happened between non-Jewish and Jewish Poles.
The interviews were filmed as extreme close-ups with a DV-Cam. Attention focused on the features of a face and the sound of a voice. The stories told were about ten minutes long (original version with German subtitles). Visitors assembled their own films, choosing the order of the booths and length of the films they wanted to watch.
During the period of the exhibition the Graz Rechbauer cinema organised a film week on the topic "Filming Memories", presenting works by Ruth Beckermann. Both exhibition and film were accompanied by a catalogue and a DVD.
Idea, concept and realisation: Ruth Beckermann
A project by Graz 2003 - Cultural Capital of Europe.