Fokus Lodz Biennale 2010

Selection Committee including

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Richard Vine and Gregory Volk 

Piotrkowska Street, Lodz, POLAND, Organizer: Museum of the City of Lodz, 

The Dove of Lodz 

Interactive Photo Installation

O Zhang

The Lodz Ghetto Box (1940-43) made by Leon Jakubowicz, a Jewish shoemaker, is a scale model of the Lodz Ghetto (second-largest ghetto established for Jews in German-occupied Poland) , mimicking its boundaries streets and buildings.

I was struck by the image of Leon and his wife Rachela posing with the open box, its wings suggesting the form of a dove taking flight. How could they radiate such love and joy during a time of such extreme hardship and despair? Perhaps by making this box, Leon transformed his suffering into an enduring work of art. The image touches my heart. It tells everyone that the human spirit cannot be beaten. 

For my project Leon’s ghetto box is recreated by using the same boundaries but updating the buildings to reflect current city. I’m creating a photo booth in an abandoned shoe shop in Lodz where people can pose with the open box, updating the image of Leon and Rachela. Prints will be made to contribute to a wall of photographs installed in the form of the silhouette of a dove taking flight. As more and more people are photographed, the dove will grow.

(The original Leon’s Ghetto Model is in the collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.Courtesy of Cifarelli and Jacobson Families, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. )