Alice Shockey

Oberlin College

Milada Hönigová, personal No. Dm 4772 and her mother Zdeňka Hönigová, personal No. Dm 4771, perished in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943, September 6, after their deportation from Terezin, Czechoslovakia. I was recently told in a letter from Vladimír Růžička, who still lives in Nové Město, where he and my grandpa Mitch grew up, that Mitch’s sister Milada and her mother Zdeňka were separated from each other in the selection on the ramp after their arrival to Auschwitz on December 6. Milada, a child of 12, was sent to the line of prisoners who were to be gassed in Bunker 2 at Auschwitz ll—Birkenau and her mother was sent to the line of prisoners who were selected for labor. However, Zdeňka Hönigová decided to perish with her daughter and she was able to join Milada in the line that lead to Bunker 2.

When I was in Theresienstadt, Terezin transit camp this past summer, I remembered this letter, the narrative of Zdeňka and Milada’s incarceration. My experience in Terezin transit camp inspired me to continue my exploration of the visible and invisible architectonic boundaries that define human existence. I traveled from Theresienstadt, Terezin to other cities, and when I returned to campus I continued to notice these same boundaries.

The stories I discover within distinct communities are important to me. When I create installations and prints, I wonder about the relation between the architecture within urban spaces and the communities that interact within them. I wonder, how do these spaces impact their people and how do people recompose their cities?

The studio becomes a space in which I continue to discover relations between people and between people and their spaces, and as I recompose, reconstruct, and activate spaces, the structures that contain these stories continue to discover new narrative in their composition.

I use reproducible media as well as threads, twine, rope, paper, and wood to recreate urban spaces as prints and as installations. The material I use acts as an intermediate between two-dimensional planes. The threads, twine, and ropes are to be drawn from their two-dimensional planes, to activate three-dimensional spaces.

It is important that I move between urban spaces and the studio in order to sustain an artistic process in which I continue to discover new relations between people and their spaces. The experiences I have in distinct communities inspires the processes in which I recreate stories, as prints and as installations.

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