How should we represent the unthinkable? How to bring the past horrors of the Holocaust into our comfortable present without reducing the victims to a lurid spectacle? These are among the challenges faced by Pam Skelton as she works to re-represent something of the site, memory of the site, memory and history of Ponar; the site of the mass execution and imprisonment of up to 100,000 people during the Holocaust. The video installation Dangerous Places: Ponar began in the summer of 1993 when Pam Skelton, interested in understanding something of her family’s recent history in Eastern Europe, undertook a journey to Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine where, with the aid of a camcorder, cassette recorder, camera, notebook and colleague she worked to document some of the remaining traces of the Holocaust. While in Lithuania, Skelton met a group of elderly men and women holocaust survivors who had journeyed to Europe to revisit the sites and places of the Shoah. Among these people was Itzak Dogan who spoke to Skelton of his life as a prisoner in the Ponar work camp, and of how the peaceful forest through which they were now walking was once the site of mass execution. Using Itzac Dogan’s recorded testimony and images of his journey through present day Ponar, Skelton’s installation works to create a space within which the viewer might continually re-imagine Ponar; the trauma, time, memory, event, and space.
Thursday, April 27, 1995 to Saturday, May 27, 1995