As a member of many groups to do with the Holocaust and remembrance, I recently found an e-mail that sparked my interest. I came across the performance art piece KAMP, but Hotel Modern (a Dutch group of performers) took place at St. Ann’s Warehouse. Due to the death of my grandmother, I missed the show, but I vigorously searched for clips on YouTube. KAMP attempts to present the daily life of Auschwitz utilizing a scale model of the camp, complete with handmade puppets. A performance devoid of words, it attempts to bring the audience into the horrific, but impossible to understand world of a concentration camp.
Granted, I haven’t seen the entire performance, but I had one major complaint with it. Although I did enjoy the concept, the lighting and the music, I felt too much emphasis was put on the masses and not enough put on the individual. Personally, I feel the only way people can make connections to the Holocaust (and bridge it to current happenings) is to recognize the humanity in the victims. When puppets stuck together to form rows of prisoners are placed on stage, it is hard to get a sense of any individual, which is the real loss in the Holocaust or any other genocide. We aren’t losing masses of stick people, but actual people with families, hopes and dreams, faults and flaws. We are losing people just like you and me, which I feel is always essential to make people begin to understand something so outlandish. A well written character passing away under the thumb of an oppressive regime is much more heart breaking than watching masses of faceless, characterless people go to slaughter–at least in my opinion.
The installation is over in New York (although may be playing elsewhere), but you can look at a video here:
What do YOU think?
You can view Hotel Modern’s website here.