Illuminating the Non-Representable

Visualizing the consequences of racism and antisemittism through

drawing-based didactic methods [ongoing research]




Photos


This artistic research project explores new methods to prevent racism and antisemittism among young people.

Transposing workshop- based methodology from the pilot project, that focuses on the Jewish tradition of commemoration through stones the pilot was developed in Lodz, Poland. Participants in workshops receive small parcels at the workshop entrance. Unwrapping the paper, instructions and agreement of consent is found on the inside, as well as an individual number. The instructions informs how the participants may contribute to the unveiling of information about Holocaust victims, and gives instructions for procedure: To grasp [1]  the stone and feel it becoming warm inside the palm. To make a drawing on the inside of the paper.

To pay notice to the number which corresponds to a list on the wall. Here individual information is provided: The name, age, gender and home address of the person commemorated. A name tag is provided to the stone and placed on a map. Participants may then photograph the stone and publish on social media using hashtags. The drawings and the stones remain in the property of the researchers and will be used for exhibitions and other relevant purposes. An anonymous user experience survey is the final stage of the workshop.


DEVELOPMENT SINCE 2020


The new project, Hvis dette er et menneske? (If this were a human being)  is being developed in cooperation with Falstadsenteret, a human rights and democracy center in Trøndelag, Norway. 


The project builds on information about  Norwegian Jews deported from Trondheim in 1942. Creating an archive using theory from microhistory, the project explores collaboratory art methodologies as methods of change (Berman 2017). How can inquiry-based learning strengthen the links between teaching and disciplinary research (Spronken-Smith and Walker, 2010)? The exploration of drawing as tool for learning (Mäkelä 2007) will continue in this branch of the project. What are the cultural semiotic consequences when site-specific narrative is transposed to another place (Magid, 2012)? Which elements could be of significance in this transposition? (Torop, 2017)?  What ethical considerations should be taken (Guo, 2014)?


The project investigates new approaches of commemorating though drawing/illustration, as well as relation between object and participant (Moniker, 2016) and discusses memory and object (Jenkins, 2018). The exploration of the viewer as illustrator and objects as illustration is the expected outcome.


The project is a cooperation between Falstadsenteret and professor Hilde Kramer, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design at the University of Bergen. Project leader is Sebastian Klein, Head of Education at Falstadsenteret. During the first symposium of the project on 19th of October 2020 he gives a presentation

 

 

Stones as starting-point for constructing a methodology combining learning  and commemoration 


Stones are closely connected to the act of commemoration in Jewish culture, and have been used for centuries in graveyards. Since the release of Steven Spielbergs film Schindler´s List  the use of stones as commemoration has spread also to all continents and also crossing cultural borders. But  stones are being used in commemoration also in cases not related to a Jewish context: 

32 dead, 32 stones  (Moniker, 2015) is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the shooting on May 7th, 1945 at the Dam Square in Amsterdam where a drunk Nazi-German soldier shot randomly into a crowd. The commemoration site was realized as a collective commemoration project initiated by Studio Moniker that is located at Dam in Amsterdam, Here the names of the victims are written with pebbles placed inside the pavement, and the design of each letter in their names has been ‘negotiated’ by visitors to a website. 

Czysta woda/ Clear water (Dobosz, 2018) is a graphic installation by Agnieszka Dobosz exhibited at the BWA gallery in Kraków, Poland in July 2018. Her project relates to family history; her second great grand-mother awaiting the return of the artists grandfather from a concentration camp. Collecting stones from a river nearby the family home, she exhibited them together with her own drawings on the gallery floor. In the description of the artistic installation on the gallery wall there is no explanation if the use of stones and reference to concentration camp should be understood as an art project relating to a Jewish context.


A NEW WORKSHOP STRUCTURE DEVELOPED DURING 2021 AND 2022


  • Participants making individual maps through frottage
  • Expanding drawing as part of the methodology: While draving the stone still is important, in the new workshops the participants also use the frottage technique to create portraits of the victims commemorated in the workshops.

AUTUMN 2022
The project is now part of a research network* exchanging 

 experiences on including drama-pedagogical methods  (Skjeie 2019) as part of the didactic teaching methods. In a workshop at the Holocaust Center in Oslo five projects were presented and discussed on November 5th 2022. The network will continue with plans of publication at the end of the project. 

For our project, both the drawing-illustration parts, map-making and vocalisation are examples of drama-pedagical approaches. 

* Organizers: Nasjonalt senter for kunst og kultur i opplæringen (KKS) og Demokratisk Beredskap mot Rasisme og Antisemittisme (Dembra).

 


FOOTNOTES

 

1. […] the knowing touch projects us outside our body through movement. […] There are tactile phenomena, alleged tactile qualities, like roughness and smoothness, which disappear completely if the exploratory movement is eliminated. Movement and time are not only an objective condition of knowing touch, but a phenomenal component of tactile data. They bring about the patterning of tactile phenomena, just as light shows up the configuration of a visible surface.

                                                          Maurice Merleau-Ponty1996

 

REFERENCES

Berman, K. (2017). Methodologies and Methods of Change. In Finding Voice: A Visual Arts Approach to Engaging Social Change (pp. 9-20). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Retrieved November 3, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvdtphz0.5
 

Guo, H. (2014, 09 24). The Ethical Turn in Contemporary Western Semiotics. Retrieved from De Greuter: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/css.2014.10.issue-3/css-2014-0037/css-2014-0037.xml

 

Magid, S. (2012). The Holocaust and Jewish Identity in America: Memory, the Unique, and the Universal. Jewish Social Studies Vol. 18, No. 2 , pp. 100-135.

 

 Merleau-Ponty, M. (1996) Phenomenology of Perception. Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass, 1996, ©1945, p. 315.

 

Mäkelä, M. (2007) Drawing as a Research Tool:Making and understanding in art and design practice. Retrieved 02.11. 2019  from researchgate.net: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277308776_Drawing_as_a_research_tool_Making_and_understanding_in_art_and_design_practice

 

Moniker, S. (2016). Place A Stone. Retrieved from Place A Stone: https://placeastone.nl


Skjeie H.F., (2019) 

Myndiggjøring i forhold til rasisme og utenforskap gjennom teater. https://www.duo.uio.no/bitstream/handle/10852/73823/Masteroppgave_Hanna_Fatland_Skjeie.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y Retrieved 07.12.2022

 

 

Spronken-Smith, R. & Walker, R. Can inquiry‐based learning strengthen the links between teaching and disciplinary research? Retrieved from tandfonline.com: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03075070903315502

 

Torop, P. (2017, 12). Semiotics of cultural history. Retrieved from researchgate.net: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322212847_Semiotics_of_cultural_history

 

In the new workshop routines, the participants make their own  booklets based on information about the deportees from Trondheim 1942. Thoe booklet contains drawings, collected information, a map and room for own reflections.  Photo: Hilde Kramer

Previously the participants were given stones wrapped as gifts. In the new workshop, the task of finding stones is given to the participants, increasing their activity and engagement. Photo: Hilde Kramer

From the beginning the stone, the act of gift-giving and maps were central elements in the workshop. Photo: Hilde Kramer

Testing out different color pencils for frottage drawings. Photo: Hilde Kramer

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"If one could possess, grasp, and know the other, it would not be other."                                                                   

                  Emmanuel Levinas

"If teachers are aiming for strong links between teaching and research, they should adopt an open, discovery-oriented range of important elements in the learning design, including the design of learning spaces and student assessments." 

                                                   Spronken-Smith & Walker 2010 

 

 

Revised workshop plan December 5th 2022  Photo: Hilde Kramer

From the workshop in October 2022: Having a team for brainstorming is fundamental for idea development of a complex structure. Here Sebastian Klein, Falstad and Thanee Andino, UiB. After the workshop, a crew of students were invited to critique the new structure. Photo: Hilde Kramer