As a photographer and journalist, Kizny created the clandestine agency of photographers, Dementi, in 1982. He is an acclaimed researcher studying the history of crimes under communism. He spent several years in the former Soviet Union collecting photographic documents about the Gulag while interviewing and photographing survivors. The results were presented in six countries as part of a book and travelling exhibition. He also researched the Great Terror under Stalin’s regime, producing an exhibition and book together with Dominique Roynette.
Dominique Roynette is a graphic designer specialising in typography. She was the designer of French newspaper Libération before founding Gazeta Wyborcza in Poland, where she designed the daily newspaper as well as supplements. She worked as Art Director at Le Monde for ten years, producing exhibitions and books as well as being photo editor for the newspaper. She recently produced and designed the books Goulag and The Great Terror.
The Great Terror
The exhibition and the book consist of three parts:
THE TERROR NECROPOLES. The author’s research and photographic work brings to the public present-day landscapes of the execution and burial grounds, which have been kept top secret for decades. This series of pictures of the mass graves, spread all over the territory of the former Soviet Union, are designed as “anti-oblivion-images” but also shows the immense topography of terror and reflects the memory culture of today Russia. The photographs of Soviet killing fields were taken in all twelve time zones of Russia.
THE VICTIMS. The collection of 1200 mug shots taken by the Soviet political police in 1937-38 is the integral part of The Great Terror project. These pictures were kept in Soviet secret archives for decades and were meant never to be seen by outsiders. The individuals facing the camera knew that their lives were at stake, and their faces express feelings ranging from hope to desperation, from defiance to fear. Originally made for entirely technical identification purposes, the images speak to the present-day viewer with a language of emotional responses to the existential threat of totalitarian terror. Due to the vast scope of the Great Terror, the prison photographs include individuals from all walks of life, backgrounds and occupations in Soviet Union in late 1930s’. Taking identification pictures was a police routine to complete prisoners’ dossiers however these photographs also used to serve for the firing squats to verify the identity of the condemned just before execution.
THE EYEWITNESSES. The third part of The Great Terror project consists of photographic portraits of eyewitnesses, mainly the children of the murdered taken by Tomasz Kizny in 2008-2010. The portraits are accompanied with video interviews designed to render the atmosphere of terror era, memories of parents’ and decades of searching for traces of disappeared ones in the face of a largely indifferent society and government.
Today in their eighties or nineties, and with the prevailing mood of powerless disappointment, of deceived and marginalized lives, the faces of “heirs” of the Great Terror are images in their own right; and if these witnesses and victims of terror are to receive a voice and a face at all, now is the last chance to do so, because soon they will have passed away. The dividing line between “living memory” and “historical memory” has been reached.
Amalie Smith (b. 1985) is a writer and visual artist living in Copenhagen, Denmark. She graduated her MFA from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2015 and received The Charlottenborg Grand for her graduation piece – a videoinstallation on touch technologies – which is on show in Landskrona Foto Festival. In October that same year she received the Danish Crown Prince Couple’s Rising Star Award for her work as a writer and visual artist. She has published six hybrid books since she graduated from The Danish Academy of Creative Writing in 2009, among them the novel “Marble” which has been translated to Swedish and published at Ellerströms förlag in June 2016.
Eyes Touching, Fingers Seeing
Projected onto a curved wall of a 16th century castle, Amalie Smith’s poetic and beautiful film ‘Eyes Touching, Fingers Seeing’ reflects on touchscreen technologies.
It explores the touchscreen technology’s combination of touch and vision and traces the vast plane where the two senses intersect. She connects it to a general understanding of how we perceive projections from 3D to 2D.
Smith’s poetic voiceover builds up arguments and ideas about the difference between sculpture and painting and their relation to touch, space and virtuality. These arguments and ideas are reactivated in the last part of the film, where computer and touchscreen interfaces are discussed. The specificity of the touchscreen interface is addressed and the term Natural User Interface is challenged.
“The film is not progressing via cuts”, Smith says. “Instead images with drop-shadows are floating into the screen as on to a stage, almost like they already exist prior to the scene they’re staging in. The drop shadow adds a 3D effect to the space of representation and opens up the three-dimensionality of the space inside the screen”.
Mak Remissa, born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 1970 is regarded as one of the most successful Khmer photographers of his generation.
In 1995, he graduated in Fine Art and Photography at the Royal Fine Arts School in Phnom Penh, and his work soon appeared in numerous publications such as Cambodge Soir and the Phnom Penh Post.
Currently working as a photojournalist for the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), his work is often seen on the international news wires. Mak Remissa has exhibited his fine art photography in Cambodia, France, Canada and the US. His work was recently made part of the Singapore Art Museum’s permanent collection.
Left 3 days
Like other Cambodians, some of my family members died from the killing, starvation, overwork and torture under the Khmer Rouge regime. Most of those who have survived the regime do not wish to recall such painful memories. Therefore, the story of genocidal crime that happened between 1975 and early 1979 in Cambodia have faded away gradually from the people’s mind. “Left 3 Days” is a keyword to recall some memories during my childhood at that time; particularly on 17April 1975 when Khmer Rouge troops took control and occupied the capital city “Phnom Penh”. The soldiers were ordering all residents to leave their home for only three days. As ordered, everyone was evicted out of the capital city.
The only living human beings left are the Khmer Rouge troops that are searching for remaining citizens from house to house. Crowds of the city residents walked from dusk to dawn with the Khmer Rouge troops chasing behind them and forcing them to continue onward. Many dead bodies lied on both sides of the road and corpses would float upward in ponds, lakes and water canals. Words alone cannot describe the pain and horror inflicted to the victims.
I wish to dedicate this work as a memorial to my respectful father, grandfather and three uncles as well as all victims, who died in the heinous Khmer Rouge regime.