“Permanent installation, privalite glass, data projections, mirror, 2008
The work was commissioned by- and is installed within the Permanent Exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Berlin.
One arrives at the site at the end of a journey through German Jewish History representing the last section of the permanent historical exhibition at the museum. This site depicting the “Shoah” is situated at the intersection of pre- and post- war exhibition areas.
Historical documents have been selected from the Museum archives from two sources:
a. Letters from burocratic offices to individuals about preparations for deportation and eventual transports to the east.
b. The last correspondance from Ghettos and extermination camps.
One approaches a glass barrier made up of vertical sections which are either transparent or opaque when data messages begin writing on them. One has the feeling that one cannot proceed further, yet one can see through the panels, revealing a hint of what follows. The visitor is intrigued by the dynamic rhythm of the panels appearing and disapearing, and by the pace of the digital writing on the glass.
Along a line in the floor which transverses the space at an angle (and which represents lines which intersect the original architecture), a glass barrier is built in eight sections, each 1 meter wide and 3 meters high. Four data projectors are mounted from the cieling behind the glass barrier and are connected to a computer.
A section of mirrored glass is mounted on the right diagonal wall, opening up the space and reflecting the wall of glass and the dynamic movement of the displays and changing panels.
The barrier is composed of eight ‘Priva-lite’ glass panels, each 2.5 x 1 meters mounted in steel frames. When electricity is applied to the glass, it is transparent; when the current is turned off, the glass is opaque, thereby functioning as a projection surface.
The glass panels and the projectors are synchronized. There is one projector each for two panels, representing one document fragment. When a document pair are ‘active’, the glass becomes opaque, and the document information (left side) and content information (right side) begin ‘writing’, letter by letter, simultaneously, at eye level.
The four projection pairs are either in an ‘active’ (projection, opaque) or ‘inactive’ (transparent) state. From one to four active states may be happening at any one time. The patterns of active and inactive panels is changing all the time, creating a sense of dynamic rhythm in the space. At the same time, sections of the wall seem to disapear and reappear at other locations. The selection and display of the texts is random. ”