After A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012,
A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013
was a next pilot project on the way of finding an ideal presentation of Shoah Film Collection to an audience by placing the films of the collection into complementary interventions like the screenings, an exhibition, lectures, a symposium, performances, concerts, artists presentations, talks and discussions in order to establish a dialogue between the artworks/artists and the audience and activate both.
The manifestation in Vilnius was consisting of two main components, the interventions are embedded in
The symposium – 23-26 October 2013 and
The exhibition – 23 Sept – 27 Oct 2013 at Jewish Culture and Information Center Vilnius, Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum & St. Catherine’s Church and 02-29 October at Kedainiai Regional Museum.
It was the Israeli Embassy (located in Riga) who was inviting to the inauguration of “A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013 scheduled on 23 September 2013, 10.a.m as a private view to be attended by honoraries from the Vilnius based embassies like the ambassadors and cultural attachés of Sweden, Austria and Switzerland, Finland, Italy, the municipality of Vilnius, as well as local cultural institutions,, and of course the attending Shoah Film Collection artists. Like 2012 in Riga, it was also in Vilnius her Excellency Ms. Hagit Ben Yaakov, ambassador of Israel, (third from left – image below), who started the series of introducing words explaining the relevance of art for the remembrance of the Holocaust, followed by Algis Gurevicus, head of Jewish Culture and Information Center and Wilfried Agricola de Cologne, the creator and curator of Shoah Film Collection, who gave an a short introduction to the complex artistic project context of Shoah Film Collection and the relevance of “moving images” as a vehicle to transport collective memory to the future.
The opening was suffering from another event taking place at the same time – 4th World Litvak Conference – a gathering of Jews whose family roots are lying in Lithuania. The opening day was full of official appointments, so that luckily the opening at 10h was the first one on that very day, causing many diplomatic officials to come and others don’t.
The dates of the conference as well as the private view (opening) was chosen, because 23 September (the day of the liquidation of Vilna Ghetto – 23 Sept 1943) is the national Lithuanian commemoration day of the (Lithuanian) victims of Holocaust.
Like in Riga 2012, also the private view in Vilnius was at the same time the official opening of the exhibitions in the upper and the underground gallery at The Jewish Culture and Information Center. While in the upper gallery, the presentation and documentation of Shoah Film Collection was exhibitioned, as well as art works giving background information abot the making of.. of some of the films included in Shoah Film Collection – Paolo Bonfiglio, Shelley Jordon, Tammy Mike Laufer, Grace Graupe Pillard and Agricola de Cologne – the undeground gallery was reservede for the exhibition of experimental photographs by Eitan Vitkon (Israel) and in the confrence space downstairs also a selection of films from Shoah Film Collection was projected.
Also in Vilnius, Agricola de Cologne served a guided to the diplomatic audience of the private view, starting upstairs explaining the history of the project and artistic concepts behind the event, the film collection and individual films. The attending artists had the chance to start a discussion with the visitors. While the upper gallery had a newly renovated character, the underground space was more authentical, therefore the photographs by Eitan Vitkon fit excellently in the oppressive atmosphere. The same character had also the space which was used for the symposium and the video screenings, ideal for getting the imagination of authenticy from Vilna Ghetto making a bit depressive, so that everybody was glad to leave the space as soon as possible.
Later, at 14h the exhibition was open to the public when the symposium and artists meeting started ath the underground conference space, overwhelming arists and audience through the oppressive atmosphere.