Witness Trees (2019)
Kraft paper, Charcoal and Poplar

Charcoal rubbings of witness trees from five forested sites of trauma in Eastern Poland. Specific trees are often identified as landmarks by witnesses when communicating the location of a forest site where murders took place during the Holocaust. Beginning with a first hand witness account, non-invasive tools can then be used to look underground. As a participant with the Zapomniane Foundation, whose intention is to demarcate these sites, I sought to identify trees that may have been old enough to witness the murders that occurred here. Using my own arm span to speculate on the age of the tree as old enough to have been witness to these crimes, I tied string around the witness trees, carrying the length between trees to create a perimeter around these sites. The string was then wrapped onto wooden forms to create a record of the site.

Speculative Cartographies; Mapping the Archive is an exhibition of studio research undertaken in five sites of mass graves of Jewish victims of the Holocaust that have been identified by the Zapomniane Foundation. Present in the exhibition are archival materials and experimental cartographic methodologies undertaken in forests and villages where there have been confirmed speculations of mass graves. Some of these sites are marked, others are still undergoing further investigation.

This research-creation project is an exploration of the vegetal landscapes of mass-graves through spatial and material interventions. The archived works include site-specific processing techniques using analog film, situated sculpture and drawing and digital cartographic methods, all enacted within these sites. The exhibition seeks to activate an existing archive of official documents, personal photos and hand drawn maps within the context of a gallery. In response to this archive we are adding situated maps, recorded through various artistic processes, interactions with the vegetal life of the forest grave sites. The works in this exhibition all explore the concept of site in proximity to victims underground, but also from an intention to demarcate the space of the victims within the forest grounds.

Exhibition: Speculative Cartographies; Mapping the Archive.
Biennale Warszawa, Warsaw Poland

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