Film Museum Vienna: Processing the Visual History of the Holocaust

Film Museum Vienna: Processing the Visual History of the Holocaust

From . – 01/20/2023 09:29 (act. 01/20/2023 09:29)

The history of the Holocaust is presented visually at the Vienna Film Museum.

The history of the Holocaust is presented visually at the Vienna Film Museum. ©APA/GEORG HOCHMUTH (symbol image)

The processing of the visual history of the Holocaust will be presented as part of a series of events at the Vienna Film Museum.

Processing is the focus of a research project that is now being shown on the occasion of “Holocaust Remembrance Day” at the Vienna Film Museum. The question arose, for example, of how images, and above all cinematographic images, shape our visual memory and how one can intervene in this process with digital means.

Film Museum Vienna showcases the visual history of the Holocaust

With international science and research guests, questions about the ethical handling of these images, the importance of witnessing to the culture of remembrance and the “life after death” of images in the collective memory of cinema will be discussed in film screenings, lectures and debates . The first is on January 27 at the Austrian Film Museum with the presentation entitled “Of Images of Extreme Violence and Digital Curating”, followed by the film “Remember” by Atom Agoyan. On the 29th, the presentation at the Vienna Film Museum “The Fortunoff Video Archive, survivors and ‘archival activism'”, as well as another film screening, will follow.

Project “Visual History of the Holocaust”

Over the past four years, the “Visual History of the Holocaust” project, coordinated by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History and the Austrian Film Museum, has explored media memory of the Holocaust together with partners from Germany, France, Israel and the United States. . The focus was on the traces that recordings and photographs filmed by Allied cameramen, made during the liberation of concentration camps and other sites of National Socialist mass crimes, left in the audiovisual media.

45 rolls of film scanned and analyzed

Using newly partially developed digital technologies, 445 rolls of film totaling 67 hours of archives in the USA, Britain, Estonia and Russia were digitised, analyzed and cataloged and combined with later visual representations of the Holocaust – for example in feature films. and documentaries, but also in literature, video games and internet memes – linked. An online database has been created in which researchers, students, educators, media designers and artists, as well as interested laypeople, can find the most important primary sources on the visual history of the Holocaust in one place for the first time.

“The technologies used in indexing go far beyond Holocaust research and are fundamentally changing the curatorial work of archives, libraries, museums and other institutions for the preservation of cultural heritage,” explained Michael Loebenstein, director of the Austrian Film Museum. He explained.