enamel bowls, fabric, water
Synogogen Denkmal, Leipzig Germany
How do we use ritual to ground ourselves and mark time? How can we use ritual to transform ourselves and our communities in the face of violence? Should ritual actions be redemptive? I use my actions through performance art at public sites of historical violence. This particular performance is focused on my trip to Germany to study my Jewish-German roots and to work with this memory in the land of my ancestors. In performance 000, I fill bowls with water, soak the pieces of textile in water and then wring out the textile with great physical effort. The aim of this action in public space is to give memory a form and allowing the public to commemorate as a community. The actions are ritual and meditative. Water is used as a time-bound material linking memory and time.
While conducting these performative actions publicly at the Holocaust Memorial in Leipzig, Germany, I came to know the impossibility of turning a void of loss into a positive form. It was an attempt to honor and confront trauma at this site of violence–– a synagogue destroyed and burned on November 9, 1938 the night of broken glass or Kristallnacht.
Is this an action for my own healing or that of an entire community? Can we have memory from a void and turn it to a positive shape?
Video and photo documentation by maeshell west-davies.