suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
kevin KEMNER & aaron MALMEDAL: The Holocaust consists of countless tragedies and moral insults, large and small, communal and individual. Memorializing genocide, remembering the Holocaust, is an architectural endeavor fraught with missteps, inadvertent references, the unintended trivialization of the victims, and in this instance, the Atlantic City Boardwalk, a site that challenges traditional notions of places of memorial and of remembrance.
Additionally, the immensity of genocide, the Holocaust, the magnitude of It, often leads to a dehumanization of the victims through the recitation of statistics rather than an understanding of the details of individual lives.
This project is conceived to bridge the scale of the Holocaust to remember the largeness of the crime and to remind that the crime itself was enacted upon the individual rather than a numerical abstraction. The project is conceived to establish a space apart from the Boardwalk, to make a place for remembrance removed from the excesses of the immediate surroundings. The project is comprised of two elements: an Ark, a vessel, a container of sacred objects and texts, and a Shroud, a cover, the final embodiment of an individual’s life.
The Ark, immaterial, rendered in glass, is inscribed with deeply etched numbers. Each number, seven digits in length cast itself as a shadow in the light of day. A veil of Shadows on the floor, shadows on those visiting the memorial. Voids in the veil of numbers reminds us that not all who perished were counted or known.
The Shroud, looming, rendered in grey metal, floats overhead bearing the given names of individuals lost in the Holocaust. The form of the Shroud implies the draping over a torso, a body missing, a cultural void. The given names, written in Hebrew and English, cut through the material of the Shroud casting the name on the ground as light in the shadow of loss.
sP: What or who influenced this project?:
kK & aM: While a project such as this is informed by many factors, two sources of inspiration are worth noting: the first was an exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on the making of the Torah and what this process of making signifies, the second was discovering the work of Maurizio Cattalan depicting bodies in burial shrouds.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
kK & aM: A very eclectic mix of music.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
kK & aM: Its less about who and more about where. South America and Spain are on my radar at the moment.