PRESENT PAST - Documentary audio/video walk with an ipod. (Oslo 2012/13)

"During the walk I experienced three different times, the recorded time of the summer 2012, the present time of the walk in the autumn 2012 and the autumn of 1942." 
(Anita G.)

"It was a very physical experience. I felt this lap of time strongly. Suddenly, 1942 gets very close. I started to wonder - what is time?" (Øystein S.)



Concept & realization:    Veronika S. Boekelmann & Kari Strand.
Funded by:                    Foundation Fritt Ord & Kunstløftet - The Norwegian Cultural Council 

Supported by:               The Jewish Museum Oslo
Thanks to:                     Holocaust Center Oslo, Rikksarkivet &all other kind supporters.
Shown in the frame of:   Den Kulturelle Skolesekken Oslo 2012/13.

At 26th of November 1942, 532 Jews were deported from the city of Oslo with the final goal of the concentration camp Auschwitz. As there were not enough police cars available, 100 taxi cabs transported the families to the harbor. On the boat shipping them to Poland, the young Kai Feinberg met the girl he was in love with, hoping “to marry her as soon as possible” upon their arrival “in the ghetto”, still thinking about how to tell his friends back in Norway about the “adventure” of the forced journey. Only five days later, at December 1st 1942, all elderly, children and women of the transport were killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz – Birkenau. Soon afterwards a taxi driver involved in the deportation sent a letter to the police claiming one of the hundreds of empty apartments. He moved in there in March 1943, after the apartment had been “cleansed with gas”. In 1945 Kai Feinberg came back from the concentration camp as only survivor of his family. He rang the doorbell to his apartment and said: “Hello, my name is Feinberg. I live here.” When we rang the same doorbell in 2012, the woman residing in his former apartment does not know anything about the yesteryear of the place. 

The Project.
Present Past brings the audience member to buildings where Jews had lived until they got deported or had to flee under WW II. Each audience member walks around individually, guided by an ipod with video images and the voices of the artists. For the filming, Boekelmann and Strand have walked exactly the same walk in real time. The participant during the walk follows the same motion and tempo, moving the ipod as if filming herself. The images on the screen do not only guide her gaze but also position her in space, bringing her for instance close to a window front. The constant interplay between the focus on the screen and on the physical reality out on the streets creates a bodily disturbance and sensual confusion: ghost-like a person may appear on the screen where in the current moment nobody is walking. Consequently, the audience is confronted with an ongoing questioning about what is real or virtual, present of past. This alienating effect is reinforced by the use of binaural microphones recording three-dimensional sound, for example footsteps that approached the artists while recording, sound spatially realistic for the audience member, seemingly getting closer to her ear via head phones. Thus, the past becomes physically experienceable for the spectator, penetrating her present moment. Through the different forms of ghost-like merging of temporalities, the audience member of Present Past walks around in a constant interplay of several time zones: the historical time of the 1940ies, the recorded time of the video, the present time of the walk, and the imaginary – what could have been there if the family had not been deported.

 Dialogue with school class after the walk.