Continued: Waldek Dynerman
Q: Your "Train Project" assembles photographs, miniature people, tiny videos, and then an oversized human figure on a chair¾all surrounded by a real working toy train. Could you discuss that?
A: The installation was built intuitively and contains many factors that are cryptic. It forces people to look closely at all the many parts. Look inside this mausoleum or museum at one end. Here is a photograph of fake showers that led to the gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps.
Q: Does the train reflect on that experience also?
A: Yes, but at first it resembles a toy. Children love the train and are glued to the chair, at the controls for a half hour. But then you realize the trains were not toys, they transported the Jews, they were carried by trains to the camps. This is not only about the Holocaust, but an illusion to genocide.
Q: So the toy sculptures, the green plastic army men, the tiny dolls relate to genocide?
A: This is a lesson I feel we have not learned. Look at the genocide in Cambodia, Darfur, the Balkans. I am inviting people to see parallel worlds: the world of dreams, of horror, of the ordinary.
Q: Could you explain this more?
A: Here at one end of the installation, we have the steps and people enjoying the Eiffel tower. This is the ordinary everyday lives. We are so seduced by the ordinary that we don't pay attention to the horrible. Do we say I am so comfortable here that I have no empathy for Darfur and Cambodia? We lead full lives here but children die of hunger.
Q: And the horrible is behind the Eiffel Tower?
A: This is the strange surreal world with disjointed points of view. The train moves around the carousel, the tiny theater, and then into the mass of toy soldiers that could be the German army: Then they are confronted by light colored play people who try to stop evil.
Q:The large human figure on the chair, could you explain that figure?
A: That is the one viewpoint, looking down on all this. [The train, the figures]. He could represent God, a dictator, a dream, a big corporation. And under his chair is a tiny barren apartment. And then projected on the wall is a video of this installation, that larger viewpoint that we [the viewer] looks at again in another way.
Q:What do you hope viewers will take away from your installation and exhibition?
A: We live in a world pretty much unchanged, conflicts move, but remain unchanged. People die in great numbers that is totally unnecessary.
Q: And you would like the viewers to think about that?
A: I would like them to think about that because this is happening somewhere else so we don't have to care. Because we just keep talking and no one really does anything about these situations. This is the parallelism, the worlds of the horrible and the ordinary along side each other.
Q: Does this translate to what's happening in Israel at the moment?
A: The holocaust was essentially if you were Jewish, you were dead, a death verdict for Jews. Just being a Jew sentenced you to deathâ€¦..Israel is about land, water, the economy. Isreael is not establishing a self-determination policy for death sentences.
I am extremely unhappy about Gaza and empathize, that it hasn't been resolved. It has been many people's responsibility to resolve the conflictPalestinians, Israeli's, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Americans, Europeans. A website, Haaretz.com, explains an entire spectrum of these opinions and pysches.
Q: What are your future plansâ€¦especially for the installation?
A: Usually I show my art a couple times a year, but I have nothing scheduled yet. I hope to take "Train Project" out of Milwaukee for an exhibition in another gallery.
But my home and family, my life, is here. I love teaching and the students. But I have a little nomadic spirit, and travel to Poland twice a year to see my family. With travel, conversation is a good thing.