Our Faces, Their Faces
Video Projection and Identity cards
Date: 1997


The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC provides visitors with an identity card giving them the identity of a Jewish victim of the Holocaust. This seemed simplistic and dangerous to me. For if we are truly to learn how to avoid another Holocaust we also need people who are prepared to temporarily put themselves in the place of those who helped kill Jews. Informers, Nazi soldiers, Polish Train drivers etc. Ironically 50 years after the event it is simply too easy and too comfortable to identify as a Jewish victim. In this piece the audience is invited to take an identity card whilst a series of unidentified faces are projected onto a large screen. These faces are taken from archive photographs recording the Holocaust and include images of Germans, Greek Partisans, Jewish Partisans, Jewish Policeman working for the Nazis, Jewish Victims, Lithuanian Collaborators, Nazis, Poles, Polish Partisans, Slovakian Fascists, Ukrainian Fascists, Yugoslavian Partisans as well as a number of people whose identity and role in the Holocaust I was unable to determine. By blurring the identity of the faces, viewers are forced to put themselves in the slightly more troubling situation of questioning "their role and place" in the Holocaust and in doing so are forced to confront how they might react should such a situation arise again.