B’Seder – because you must be wondering – is Ian Wojtowicz’s artistic answer to the long-standing tension and animosity between the Jewish and Polish communities in Europe. He has designed a storage and retransmission medium for these contested histories – using photography, nomadic performance, new media mapping techniques and imaginary architecture – to produce a long-term relational aesthetic practice for conflict transformation. Using a well established process from post-traumatic therapy, the medium focuses on restructuring fragmented memories into a cohesive, flowing story.
How it works: the project begins with a photo of an empty room. Anecdotes are collected from readings, films and conversations with community participants. These anecdotes are then transformed into mnemonic objects, which are depicted in the image. This process of accumulation of object/stories continues as the image is taken to new sites with new participants. The system then transitions into an editing and organizing mode where these anecdotes are arranged into a singular narrative sequence, which is memorized and recounted in public space.
This visual process will serve as a script that encourages interactions between the two groups. This AWB grant will allow Ian to get the project started, with collaboration between institutions representing each side. The funds this initial run raises will be used to complete the project, and produce a film. In time, it could lead to a B’Seder in other communities suffering from unresolved conflicts.