The Shoah (or Holocaust) is one of the most documented events in all of human history. The peculiar phenomenon of Holocaust denial is one among many reasons the ongoing work of documentation is essential.And yet, for all the work that is done, all the evidence that is gathered, all the documentation that is amassed, there is something, it seems to this outsider, that is often neglected.
It is the human face, the pathos of this event that is too quickly passed over. It is the shadow that the Shoah casts upon Jewish people, and, for reasons that become apparent when the events of the last two millennia are considered, the shadow that this event casts upon a great many non-Jews. The sheer magnitude of corporate destruction somehow serves to deflect the onlooker's attention from an unfathomable personal toll. When one speaks of a thousand, a million, six million, the personal experience of the individual son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father, is too readily subsumed in the statistic. I am not Jewish. Thus, as an artist, I approach the Shoah as an outsider, and in some sense, almost as an intruder. In my rendition I must tread carefully, respectfully, and ensure that the survivor's account is faithfully conveyed.
From interviews typically ninety minutes duration, a mere fifteen to twenty lines of text have been distilled. These have been combined with black and white portraits and music. Seven three minute stories are told at each exhibition staging. The first appears immediately to one's right upon entering the exhibition.The enclosure is dark. The visual and auditory immersion combine to create a sense of the sacred.I have attempted to create something beautiful out of material that exposes and confronts something within the human condition that is grotesque.
Perry Trotter's speech at the 2015 United Nation International Holocaust Remembrance Day event at Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand can be read here.