From a text I wrote about my current ongoing this year project "Shrouds".

Do cities remember? Maps of cities are flat, yet their histories contain 
vertical strata of events. Where in the topography and consciousness of a city 
can we locate its memory? Maps of the Polish city Zielona Góra depict an empty 
unmarked rectangular area located on Wrocławska Street, across from the Focus 
Park shopping mall. Located centrally within the city this area looks 
abandoned, being composed mostly of broken masonry and wood debris. Inquiries 
to citizens of Zielona Góra indicate that many of them do not know the history 
of this abandoned area, including those who grew up near the site.

Invited by a local museum to propose a project, I arrived to Zielona Góra 
(Gruenberg) knowing of the past history of the unmarked yet centrally located 
ruined site. On June 9th this year I flew on a small airplane to film this 
territory and its surroundings. The flight marked the beginning of my new 
project that will eventually develop into a film and a multi-layered dialogue 
with the citizens of Zielona Góra. During the Second World War the site was a 
forced labor camp, which later became a concentration camp designated primarily 
for Jewish women. The camp was developed on the site of the German wool 
factory, Deutsche Wollenwaren Manufaktur AG, which supplied the German war 
machine with military clothing.  (It has since been converted to a shopping 
mall.)  During the war about 1,000 young women worked there as seamstresses and 
eventually became prisoners of the concentration camp complex governed by KZ 
Groß-Rosen.  Towards the very end of the war the prisoners were sent on one of 
the most tragic of the forced Death Marches where many of them died.

Looking down from the airplane we see well-kept buildings surrounding the ruins 
of the former camp, as though it were an open yet forgotten wound in the body 
of the center of the city. During the performative phase of the project, I 
invited a group of young women from Zielona Góra to spend some time in silence 
on the site of the camp, wearing black scarfs which later were taken off and 
left behind amongst the ruins. Their presence evoked the absence of the 
prisoners.   In the dual video projection installation at the BWA, (an 
exhibition that initiated the project in June), the faces of these young women 
look towards us in silence. In another part of the projection we observe a 
torso of a woman wrapping bandages onto her naked chest in a slow, fragile 
gesture of defense, or perhaps caress. Her body stands for our common body, 
anonymous as if it were a membrane between the self and the external world. 
Awareness of our marginality becomes elevated into the realm of meaning through 
our brief encounter with memory and history.

“Shrouds” considers aspects of public memory and amnesia in the construction of 
the space of a city and its urban planning. As part of this project, citizens 
of Zielona Góra are invited to propose how we choose to remember, (or not) the 
women prisoners who perished there, and how this fulfilled the goals of a 
systematic destruction of an entire population. Over the course of this year 
citizens of Zielona Gora are also invited to respond to a questionnaire in 
order to propose their own ideas for the development of the area, whether as a 
site of commemoration, or through other forms of dialogue. Earlier this year, 
after over 50 years of gradual decay and abandonment, the site has been sold by 
the city's officials to an undisclosed developer. Yet the larger debate in 
Zielona Gora, a dialogue about the site of the former camp and about the city's 
memory and amnesia, as well as about the meaning of citizenship and 
response-ability shall continue, to some extend, thanks to "Shrouds".
empyre forum

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