Old Benjamin Was There Too, 2011

Pencil drawings, projection, recording.

A compilation of fragments of images and stories of people who set off from their homeland and crossed the Pyrenees in search of freedom during 1940. Amongst those people, there was Walter Benjamin whose story was written by Lisa Fittko, his guide across the mountains. With this assemblage, these fragments of memory, I hoped to draw people’s attention to a specific time in history and convey something from it to the present. By zooming in and blasting open visual, written and oral evidence of a given time in history, I hoped to give voice to all individuals in exile, their walks to freedom and their displacement across cultures.

An installation compiled in the form of a collage on the wall, with pencil drawings of displaced people and projections with documentation and images of places and people, plus a recording coming from a radio placed beneath the projector forming a collective memory piece.

Recording carried out by international students in Cambridge who read the chapter of ‘Old Benjamin’ from Lisa Fittko‘s memoirs. The reading is alternated with witness accounts , those Giorgio Agamben calls ‘complete witnesses’ because they could not and did not bear witness. Sound effects were taken from a recording while walking over Wei Wei‘s Sunflower Seeds piece in the Tate Modern. This added an extra meaning since Wei Wei had himself disappeared.