The subject of this film is a 16-hour durational performance in which the artist walks an historic route of the death train, on still active train tracks in the Moldavian region of Romania. The death train, a transport carried out by Romanian authorities during the Holocaust, ran two respective routes. These train killings were part of the Iasi Pogrom, and resulted in the death of approximately 4,000 Jews in 1941. The artist’s body reactivates this space of historical social trauma, a history that is often locally silenced, and remains largely unknown. The performance had no destination, paralleling the historical conditions of the transport: while the route was merely 27 kilometers, the death train traveled approximately 9 hours — back and forth, stopping and starting — in order to achieve its objective of exterminating those within, via dehydration and suffocation. The performance’s resulting film (2021), edited 5 years after the 2016 performance, is a split screen video that has no chronological sense. It plays with distortion of its subject matter, and principally focuses on disorientation of time.
“Aiming for Hopelessness”, film (24min), by Elana Katz, 2021 (performance: 2016) |Montage: Branka Pavlović | Camera: Mihai Leaha, Maria Nastase, Branka Pavlović, Nikola Polić| Production & research management: Alexandru Bounegru | Realized in cooperation with The Goethe-Institut of Bucharest, The Goethe Center of Iasi, and the Embassy of Israel of Bucharest, Goethe-Institut New York, and Gallery KWADRAT, Berlin.