Aiming for Hopelessness is a durational performance along the historic route of the death train from Iasi to Podu Iloaiei in Romania, a notorious transport during the Holocaust that ran 2 respective routes and resulted in the purported death of over 14,000 Jews in 1941. The piece is part of Katz’s work of Spaced Memory (2011- present), a multi-media project in which the artist has researched and produced artwork in the region of former Yugoslavia, Moldova, and Romania, addressing the pervasive topics of memory, postmemory, and absence at locations of historical erasure.
The distance between Iasi and Podu Iloaiei measures approximately 28 km, yet the death train operated on this route back and forth for approximately 9 hours in order to achieve its objective of exterminating the victims within the train. In this performance the artist’s body penetrates this landscape of trauma that has been integrated into the mundane urban and rural landscapes of contemporary Romania.
Katz commits to a day-long repetitive action that parallels the historical circumstances of constant movement without destination, and underlines the notion of being trapped in circular time. <Hopelessness> is here referred to as a state of mind characterized by acceptance and emancipation from the burden of expectations – thus relevant in confronting and coming to terms with the past, and the complex contemporary realities its consequences have formed.
Performance duration: 16 hours
Video By Branka Pavlovic
Video excerpt available here
Camera: Mihai Leaha, Maria Nastase, Branka Pavlovic, Nikola Polic
Realized in cooperation with The Goethe Institute of Bucharest, The Goethe Center of Iasi, the Embassy of Israel of Bucharest, and has been additionally supported by private sponsors in the United States and Germany.