A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013 is a media art project by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne, media artist aund curator from Cologne/Germany starting in 2013. It is the physical and virtual manifestation of his project “Draft Title: Shoah featuring Shoah Film Collection”, including the preparations for the physical event during Agricola de Cologne’s residency in Vilnius 10-28 September 2013, the realisation of the physical event – 23 Sept-29 Oct 2013 in Vilnius and Kedainiai including creating the virtual presence, and the post-event era forming the project online to become the virtual memorial including Vilnius as a place for Jewish life and the manifestation of “A Virtual Memorial”. The project is dedicated to the victims of Vilna Ghetto and Nazism.
In this way, “A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013” became a common project of all participating artists, the involved hosting instances, the supporters and the audience. Depending on their involvement, each of them has a more or less individual active function, resulting a common media art project, which would not have happened or exist without them. One might speak, they were the tools for creating the physical and virtual art work.
The exhibition as a form of an intervention on location in Vilnius had the meaning to represent the physical conceptual framework of the art work, eg. A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013. Although this framework was consisting of several components provided by different creators (artists), it was not an art exhibition in this sense that different artworks by individual artists would have been traditionally installed at an exhibition space. The exhibition had the intention to give background information about “A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013″ as a kind of community or network based art work, whereby “community” is not only related to the communities of hosts, holders and artists, but basically also the “unknown” component, eg. the audience to be activated. The exhibition had its relevance in representing the conceptual framework as a condition for such a kind of activation. While the material presentation of the exhibition was suffering from the lack of funding, the concept of the exhibition prepared for a non-art-related space didn’t. This space had been transformed into a space of art because the institution hosting the art project of “A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013″ made the building a part of the art project, which became, this way, an object of contemporary art. By being a corporate part of the art project, the place as a reconstructed building was standing for the entire former Ghetto and the Jewish settling area of Vilnius and the entire history of Jewish life starting from the first Jewish settlers centuries ago. For the art project itself, exactly this was the conceptual condition, and this was including also some physical, technical and technological restrictions, which did not make the space a perfect space of art in the sense of a museum or gallery space, but an art space in terms how authenticity has been transmitted via reconstructing. Especially the building of the Jewish Culture and Information Center is just generating an image of autheticity and was in this sense, already only virtual, only as an art object, as a part of a superordinated art project it became physically authentical. Probably in whole Vilnius there was no better place for being transformed to “A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013″.
A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013
23 September – 29 October 2013
standing under the Patronage of the European Parliament
is the manisfestation of SFC – Shoah Film Collection in Lithuania at the two venues Vilnius (23 Sept – 27 Oct 2013) , & Kedainiai (02-29 Oct 2013) realized in partnership between Vilnius Jewish Culture & Information Center, Municipality of Vilnius, Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum,Kedainiai Regional Museum and artvideoKOELN, directed and curated by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne.
By taking Patronage over A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013 , the European Parliament is honouring SFC – Shoah Film Collection as a worldwide unique initiative by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne addressed to young generations of artists and film makers to deal with the topic of Shoah and collective trauma caused by totalitarianism, by using new technologies and contemporary approaches in order keep vivid the memory and sensitize and activate the artists, as well as the audience via art.
A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013 was additionally embedded in the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of Vilna Ghetto ( 23 September 1943) and the 4th World Litvak Congress (Litvak=Lithuanian Jew) running at the same time (22-25 September 2013) in Vilnius and many other Lithuanian places. In this way, as the Presence A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013 was rooted on the historical context of this commemoration (Past), as well as in the future orientated international meeting for finding proper ways to transfer the memory of the collective trauma to future generations (Future).
Vilnius was chosen as a place for the interventions due to the relevance of the city for Jewish life in the Eastern part of Europe for many centuries, it has many names like Jerusalem of the North or Rome of The East, giving evidence to be a center of religious life far beyond the national boarders of Lithuania. The Ghetto of Vilnius 1941-1943 got a very doubtful fame, since thousands of Lithuanian Jews had been killed or deported to Auschwitz and other death camps. the 23rd of September 1943, eg the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto got a particular relevance and is nowadays the national commemoration day for The Holocaust in Lithuania, thus the date of the inauguration of “A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013”, which incorporated this way the commenoration of the entire Jewsih life in Lithuania from the very beginning centuries ago, it destruction is just a few months during the Nazi occupation and its revival after the fall of the Communist systems until these days.
The project realized in Vilnius as the manifestation of diverse artistic interventions and its presence online is a unique document of an artist’s initiative from Germany for a reconciation between between European peoples and Future in Peace in Europe and the rest of the world.
The media art project “A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013” will continue to be an active project due to its status as a public memorial site in Internet, but it is also the conceptual intention to let further, but different physical and virtual manifestations happen.
Agricola de Cologne (Cologne/Germany)
is a multidisciplinary media artist and curator living and working in Cologne/Germany .
He had more than 100 solo exhibitions in cooperation with 80 museums in Europe, South America and USA, he is participating since 2000 in more than 500 media exhibitions and festivals around the globe. His media art works received numerous prizes and awards.