What role can illustration play in a complex and visually overloaded society? How can a project benefit from involving the viewer in the research and development? These questions were central in the recent workshop in Lodz, Poland in commemoration of the children who died during Wielka Spera (the Nazi deportations from the Jewish ghetto Litzmannstadt in September 1942) . The act of drawing and participatory design were the main areas of investigation in this workshop.
First public event at Bergen public library on 27th of February and workshop in Rom 8 28th of February, in Vaskerelven 8. Using stones as methaphor for children killed during the Holocaust, the project evolves through inviting the viewers in workshops to participate in both research and artistic practice.
Searching the archives documenting the deportation of children from the ghetto of Lodz I find information on where they lived and how old they were. By searching the ghetto registry of inhabitants, information on relatives etc is often found. USHMM and Yad Vashem are also primary sources.
Participants in the workshop "adopt" each their stone with a number attatched. After keeping the stone during 24 hours, the participants make a drawing and return the drawing and the stones to me. From there we locate each child in the public records of Lodz; home street, age, family etc.
Author Bjørn Sortland participated in the first workshop, and published an article afterwards in the newspaper Vårt Land 28th of March 2017.
Link http://www.vl.no/kultur/ein-liten-stein-som-gneg-i-lomma-1.944644?paywall=true (paywall).
#HumanBeingDeported was also a part of a seminar 30th of March at Norsk barnebokinstitutt discussing how children literature convey the Holocaust in present and previous time.
The images shown above are from a workshow in Poland in the end of August 2017 where the participants drew the stones, and then were guided to the places connected to the children, the houses where they lived. Justyna Tomaszewska from the Marek Edelman Dialogue Center guided the tour, and the participants werecencourraged to look for possible meaningful information still found in the home places of the children. Participants uploaded the material they fond relevant to social media using the hashtag #HumanBeingDeported, and the material may later be used in the final stage of the project.