The end and yet a new beginning

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image: (from the left to the right) Alise, Agricola de Cologne, Dzintars, Betija, Zanda & baby

The final day of this magnificent multi-facetted event project or project event or project interventions or interventions project is the day of pulling a summery.

What does the title mean?

The event days in Riga are indeed now past, but many people will keep them in their memory. These were days which were creating memory, memory which will be transported into future in most different ways. The project itself is transporting its own future, but only in Riga the initial spark happened. So, Riga as a place and venue, the people who are still standing behind, since the exhibition context has been prolongend and is still running to keep on creating memory, this activity this initiative by so many people, including of course Dzintars Zilgalvis and his NOASS team, and Rabbi Menachem Barkahan and his team of SHAMIR and Riga Ghetto and Holocaust Museum and not to forget the “A-Team” which will transport this memory via the Internet throughout the globe, this memory will initiate and has already initiated something new!

As for me, I feel these days in Riga have changed me, changed me to a more positive level, and there is the hope, that the initiative starting from Shoah Film Collection has had already and will have in future change people’s mind and perception, not only in dealing with the Holocaust, but much more in dealing with the Present, being and becoming aware of the world in which are living and start to become more “human” through the new positive perceptions.

People say, art cannot change the world, but the world can be changed through art, since it has the potential to hit people in their heart.

This was happening to me in all these meetings and especially during the artists talks with these eight wonderful SFC artists attending the event in Riga. As I feel, and hopefully, we will receive some feedback, yet, also they have been hit at the bottom of their heart, of course, each one individually, but if it is like that, this is already would be much more than one could have expected.

A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012 and the Shoah Film Collection were making memory already in the preparation phase, since this project context and its initiative were honoured during the process of realisation in Riga in an amazing way.

Before all, it was an honour to start and form Shoah Film Collection by including so wonderful works by as wonderful artists.

Starting with the Lativian partners, Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum and the Jewish association SHAMIR, and before all the chairman Rabbi Menachem Barkahan and at his side, the executive diretor Ms. Victoria Shaldova, further Culture and Arts Projects Noass and his team consisting of Dzintars, Betija, Zanda, Alise , Kate and Kriss. Both partners had the confidence in this initiative and the event context to be realized as ” A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012″.. It is and was such an honour to have made all these experiences.

The honour continued when the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, sent us the decision, the European Parliament would take Patronage and honour the project of Shoah Film Collection in Riga this way, indeed, an extraordinary honour! This support is giving evidence about the European relevance of this project in keeping vivid the memory of the Holocaust in new experimental future orientated ways. This is giving us all the personal and moral encouragement to continue what we have started.

Shoah Film Collection was most honoured, when the private view of A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012 and the associated exhibitions at the floating art galleries of NOASS and BETANOVUSS were opened by the Israeli Ambassador in Riga Ms. Hamit Ben – Jaakov. For me it was a doubled honour since she took the time when I was guiding her through the three exhibitions and later to the performance of Doron Polak. But there was even much more honour, since so many ambassadors gave us the honour to attend this opening.

Then, standing under the Patronage of the European Parliament, it was such an honour that Shoah Film Collection could be presented at the Conference of Holocaust Museums, not just as any other conference item, but as that internationally relevant initiative like the President of the European Parliament was describing it, in the context of an incredible session of talks of truth and confession together with the ambassadors of Austria, The Netherlands, Czech Republik and Belarus.

And again it was an honour when Rabbi Menachem Barkahan said, introducing Shoah Film Collection via my lecture to the conference was exactly hitting the point, it couldn’t have been better.

It was an honour for Shoah Film Collection to have eight of the more than 40 artists included in SFC artists in Riga. But without the support from The Isareli, US, Swedish and Austrian Embassy, there wouldn’t have been such a huge honour. Shoah Film Collection was honoured with so much creative and emotional engagement and most inspiring discussion rounds bringing the concept of the collection forward.

It was a particular honour for Shoah Film Collection, that the Riga rooted Israeli artist Doron Polak was doing his performance which he had prepared for so long time going back to his roots in Latvia and find his personal internal peace. What can art do more than inspiring great artists to do their great work!

Is it really possible to get honoured in such and much more multiple ways, or was it just a dream?

For sure, it is and was no dream, it was reality and it is so good to have such a positive reality connected to such a heavy topic like Shoah which actually is containing nothing positive, at all. Probably, this initiative of Shoah Film Collection will be once recognised as something positive coming from the Shoah.

So, at this stage and the end of the project days in Riga, I feel such a gratitude, and ask myself how can I thank all the mentioned people and instances for making this event possible and open the doors to new interventions at other places?

Maybe it is the project itself, which is able to give an answer, by starting new interventions in Vilnius, Warsaw, Budapest or elsewhere. There are the chances, that in many European countries follower interventions take place, and I think I cannot demonstrate my gratidute better, than continuing the way we have started in Riga in June 2012.

So many thanks and hugs to all who made all this possible.!!
See you soon again!!

Addendum
the feedback by Shelley Jordon – participant in A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012

“The Shoah Virtual Memorial in Riga, Latvia was an exciting and important event that showcased screenings of the Shoah Film Collection in conjunction with live presentations by artists, performance and original 2-D artwork in an exhibition aptly titled How Memory Survives. The Shoah Film Collection includes non-traditional videos and hand-painted animations that relate to issues of the Holocaust and bridge historical, social and political issues with sensitivity and originality. SFC curator, Wilfried Agricola de Cologne, invited a diverse group of artists and filmmakers from around the globe to gather and present their artwork and to engage in critical discussion about the Holocaust and post-memory art in general.

Critical to the success of the event was the recognition of its importance by the Austrian, Israeli, Swedish and the United States Embassies in Latvia, who provided the financial support that funded the artists travel expenses from their respective countries, enabling us to participate in the events. The screenings, exhibitions and lectures took place at NOASS, a floating art center, where NOASS director Dzintars Zilgalvis and his helpful staff provided a hospitable and welcoming environment for the screenings, performance, exhibitions, presentations and discussions that often continued late into the night.

The group formed an immediate bond, exploring the city, visiting galleries and contemporary art venues, and sharing late night discussions. One of the highlights was a personal tour of the Riga Holocaust Museum, a work in progress, by Rabbi Menachem Barkahan whose singular dedication and vision has been instrumental in actualizing the memorial.

The Shoah Virtual Memorial in Riga, Latvia provided a unique educational platform for the citizens of the city of Riga, Latvia about the impact of the Holocaust on subsequent generations and the consequences of condoning or ignoring racism and discrimination. For me personally, it was wonderful to meet a group of vital international artists who have also dealt with the Holocaust as subject matter in their artwork. I look forward to the next opportunity to participate in a similar event organized by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne.”

Shelley Jordon, USA

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