The second major field of interventions was representing the symposium and artists meeting open to the local Lithuanian and international audience. Compared with the previous event in Riga 2012, the sysmposium in Vilnius had a much wider conceptual and artistic dimension. Moderated by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne, it was located at the JCIC Vilnius downstairs at the cellar, which was representing quite an appropriate place for the topic of Shoah, but it was really close to claustrophobia, and probably one reason, why the local Lithuanians were hesitating to join.
As the public opening of A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013, the symposium started on 23 September 2.p.m, when Wilfried Agricola de Cologne war holding his introducing lecture explaining his personal motivations to deal with the Holocaust as an artistic topic and the personal and global conditions to start his project “SFC – Shoah Film Collection. This lecture, as well as many of the following artists’ contributions were recorded on video and will be published online.
The 13 attending artists played that essential role, not only as presenters of their own works, but as audience, as well, either via their personal presentations or visually present via the interviews during Internet conferences, moderated by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne. Via SKYPE, it was possible to connect additional artists and film directors from Cambodia, USA, Israel, France, Hungary making clear that collective trauma caused by totalitarianism is not just a matter of the Holocaust solely, but is affecting most people on all continents, even if the geographical, ethical, religious, cultural conditions may be completely different from each other. The Internet conference with the directors of the films dealing with the Cambodian genocide made this particularly evident.
A Virtual Memorial Vilnius 2013 – became really that memorial on the final day when Danute Selcinskaja, curator at Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum presenting the documentary about the Lithuanian children’s rescue during the Nazi occupation and the SKYPE conference with Moshe Kukliansky from Tel‐Aviv, one of the children who survived. This was one of the most touching moments of the whole event.
The symposium can be considered as an artistic actions, which was underlined as such when the artists gathered outside of the official hours before and after the symposium, at the hotel, cruising through Vilnius on the Jewish traces or in one of the restaurants or cafe’s. While this part of the artistic concept went very well, a lack was, however, that Lithuanian artists did not join, and one might speculate why. So, the expected and conceptually wanted exchange with local artists and intellectuals did not happen, unfortunately.
23 September – Inauguration
10h Inauguration, opening of exhibition – screening special selection from SFC
14h Start: Introducing lecture by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne
15h – 17h Presentations:Cristiano Berti (Italy), Felice Hapetzeder (Swe)
17h – 19h talks/discussions/screenings
Internet conference: interviews with Heike Liss,(USA), Menachem Kaiser (USA)
24 September – Collective Trauma
10h – 14h talks/discussions/screenings
– Internet conference – Royal University of Phnom Penh – “Looking Back” films about genocide in Cambodia, interview with the Cambodian directors
– Interview with Sopheak Sao (Cambodia), director of “The Survivor”
14h – 17h Presentations: Annetta Kapon (USA), Dova Cahan (Israel), Doris Neidl (Austria)
17h – 19h talks/discussions/screenings – Internet conference: interviews with Jay Needham USA), Angela Aguayo (USA) , Ben Neufeld (USA)
25 September – Israel Day
Internet conference: interviews –Jasmine Kainy & Shahar Marcus (all Israel)
presentation: Michael Lazar (Israel)
15h-17h presentations: Eitan Vitkon, Doron Polak, Ariel Yannay Shani (all from Israel)
17h-19h talks /discussions /screenings
26 September – Finalization
10h -14h: talks/discussions/screenings
– Danute Selcinskaja presents film by Lilia Kopac (Lithuania) – The Pit of Life and Torment, 2013, 62:00 – produced by Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum – to be attended by Lilia Kopac, director and Faina Kukliansky
– Internet conference: interviews with Istvan Horkay (Hungary), Isabelle Rozenbaum (France) & Andrea Nevi (Italy)
14h-17h presentations: Marcantonio Lunardi (Italy), Joseph Rabie (F), Jacob J. Podber (USA)
17h-19h final talks/discussions /screenings
1. Agricola de Cologne, Cristiano Berti, Marcantonio Lunardi, Josef Rabie, Annetta Kapon
2. Shelley Jordon, Felice Hapetzeder, Doris Neidl, Dova Cahan, Arturas Bumsteinas
3. Doron Polak, Eitak Vitkon, Ariel Yannay Shani, Jacob J. Podber