chai _ life is a diploma thesis in Communication Design & Photography at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, Germany – kindly supervised by Prof. Wiebke Loeper (photography) & Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke (design theory & philosophy).
» The idea for my final study project came up as a tribute to my beloved mother Traute Bartholomäus and my Grandfather Hilmar Demuth. I just wanted to catch up with a nearly lost family history – as a German with Jewish family roots something was always missing in my home country, my life, my heritage. Luckily, Jewish life in Germany is flowering again. But there is nothing like what was in the Berlin of the 1920s or 1930s. The Nazi adminsitration wiped out 6 million Europeans with jewish family background. People like me. Until today, especially Germany still deals with a lack of competence of integrating foreign cultures and religions into our society. We all still deal with what was happening to our neighbours and friends, our families. Done by us.
My personal motivation was to build bridges between Europe and the US and between Jews and Germans by doing something relevant for my generation of Shoah affected people. In the framework this project I did my parts in breaking the speechlessness and opportune work-off of the past two generations after the holocaust in my very own ways – I needed to look and listen to persons to gain knowledge besides history records, wanting a personal reconnection to the abroad living Jewish people of today.
Back from New York City in Berlin, Germany, the voices and faces of the people which took part in the project are with me – their portraits and interviews show the diversity of jewish life today. Their openness, sympathy, kindness and friendship is something i never want to miss again. exhibition and book chai _ life are a document and memorial – not to the past but to the now & future of jewish culture and history … «. Jewish life will never come back in a way it was before the Hitler aera but we have to work on a new Germany, a new Europe. A truly multicultural society is the only chance to prevent everyone of us from discrimination, racism, war and the negative effects of globalisation. To integrate Friendship and dialogue in my artistic projects is my way to get forward to it.
Project duration: September 2010 till March 2011.