Archiv - Festival der Regionen 2015

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Ahammm, a choir of breathing jars

Sound installation made of a thousand jars in a memorial tunnel in Finkerleiten

From November 1943 to liberation on 6 May 1945, from the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, about 26,500 prisoners were brought to the Ebensee auxiliary camp, of whom more than 8,200 died in the camp. In only 16 months, through brutal deployment of concentration camp prisoners, a total of 7.6 kilometres of tunnels were driven into the mountain where machine parts were to be manufactured for the weapons’ industry. Even on the day before capitulation, the camp commandant gave the order to the prisoners to gather in the tunnels mined with explosives to murder them there. This, however, was prevented by the prisoners’ collective refusal.

In memory of the victims, the artist, Daphna Weinstein, is installing in the memorial tunnel a choir whose ‘voices’ of a thousand jars will fill the space with rustling, breathing, sighing, muttering and crying noises. In each of the jars there is a strip of paper that is set into rotating motion by a small electric motor, thus becoming a soft voice which, multiplied a thousand times, becomes a choir telling of memories and pain.