Berlin Street Projections: Shimon Attie & Jean Christian Boucart


Recently I've moved from the project room and have been experimenting with projecting photographs on to derelict buildings and abandoned houses in my local area. I've been busy doing research in the local history library looking at the local history of the area: old photographs, maps, letters etc.These two artists have provided me with wonderful research and I hope they inspire you too. I'll update with images of my own work when I get the photographs developed.

Shimon Attie:

Attie 45.1993.x1

Attie's projections are hauntingly beautiful. The ghostly trails that are projected on to the backdrop of old crumbling buildings show what was once was and in doing so highlights what is no more. Attie believes his work is active in '(re)building jewish history' and attempts to recover the past and make memory visible. He gathered photographs of Jewish life from the Berlin archives and projected the images back onto the very streets they were originally taken.

You can view a video that talks more about Shimon's work on Thirteen Video: 'Art through Time: History and Memory'

 Jean Christian Boucart:

"I projected photographs of mutilated and dead Iraqis on american houses, supermarkets, churches and parking lots. [...] This was not so much a question of denuciation but of confronting two nearly simultaneous realities: a distant war, merciless and chaotic [...] and a landscape, a backdrop where everything was peaceful, orderly, controlled."

Jean Christian Boucart's website:

Both artists have a unique ability to exploit their photographic images capacity to evoke absence as well as presence. In 'Family Frames: Photography, Narrative & Postmemory',  1997:297, Hirsch comments on Attie's work saying how we "mourn the people in the photograph because we recognize them, but this identification remains at a distance marked by incomprehension, anger and rage".

"We see faces looking ahead towards a future they were never to have. The photographs temporal irony elicits mourning and empathy. [...] They may be like us, but they are not us: they are visibly ghosts and shadows. They are and remain other, emanations from another time and space. They are clearly in another world from ours, and yet they are uncannily familiar. Our entry into the circle of postmemory through the act of familiar looking enlarges the notion of family without dislodging it from a historical and geographical specificity that signals its difficult accessibility".