'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still 'And he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak', 2017, still
And he knew that those who witnessed these things
might be too stunned to speak
2017

Installation, mixed media: 16mm projection, 3’’, continuous loop;
2k projection 18’17’’, loop;
sound 18'17'', loop;
framed letter 26x38cm

The work deals with how the claim to an impossibility of 'witnessing' genocide is still retained through political speech. Why are notions like 'the unimaginable' and 'the unthinkable' activated whenever a president speaks about warfare?

The presented footage consists of 16mm fragments of 'Special Film Project 186', assigned by US Army Air forces to a crew of cameramen and movie directors – mostly from Hollywood – with the task of producing “the most complete and comprehensive propaganda color film of the war ever made.” The project was never completed. Primarily documenting the Allied aerial bombing campaign on Germany, a few reels of film depict the consequences of Nazi terror in Buchenwald concentration camp promptly after its liberation in April 1945. Their declassification in the 1960’s, mark a significant moment in which Holocaust discourses began to emerge throughout the West.

Rather than showing the horrific scenes as they were recorded in Buchenwald, the installation enters the camp as we see German citizens of the nearby town of Weimar that are being forced by the US military to walk through the camp. Significantly, Barack Obama repeatedly made reference to these events during his presidency. In these speeches he blurs the distinctions between the responsibility of the State and its citizens, the present and the past and one atrocious event and the other.
The work reveals how the representation of the Holocaust is constantly inscribed onto our retina, and questions its use as political currency to legitimize current political (in) action and warfare.
Anna Dasovic ()