The White Elephant Archive: Setting No. 3 - April 23, 7:30 p.m., Bond Chapel
The White Elephant Archive, Setting No. 3 explores the legacy of the Holocaust from the perspective of the third generation living in Austria today. In this intensely personal, documentary / object theatre production Eduard Freudmann uses his family’s archive—which includes poems written by his grandfather while imprisoned in concentration camps—to explore his family’s silence about the Holocaust, and his own attempt to understand the burden of this legacy through art. The piece reflects on the politics of Holocaust commemoration in Austria, and larger questions about how to speak of a horror once its witnesses are gone or silent.
Eduard Freudmann is an award-winning multimedia artist specializing in video, performance and public installations. His most recent work “The Monument May Be a Forest” (2016), was selected as the winning design of the controversial competition “From Those You Saved,” which will commemorate the Polish Righteous Gentiles in Warsaw. Freudmann’s work has been presented globally in international exhibitions, art biennials and festivals, including the OFF-Biennále Budapest, and is Senior Artist at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, where he researches and teaches Trans-disciplinary Art. Freudmann’s work explores the politics of commemoration and history, aesthetical perspectives on the archive, and the mediatization of the Holocaust. He is especially interested in historical-political commemorations in public spaces—both official and unofficial—and approaches to writing microhistories, including the transmission of family histories.
The University of Chicago's Bond Chapel is located in the center of the main Quadrangle adjacent to Swift Hall, 1025 East 58th Street. Free parking is available after 4 p.m. in the lot on the east side of University Avenue between 59th and 58th streets.
Making Sacred All the Whispers of the World: The Memory Work of Jewish Cabaret - April 22, 8:00 p.m., Fulton Recital Hall
In a performance complementing Eduard Freudmann’s “The White Elephant Archive,” the New Budapest Orpheum Society (Humanities Division, ensemble-in-residence) re-sounds the songs of struggle, survival, and sacrifice from the tragic history of twentieth-century Jewish modernity. Repertories unearthed from concentration camps and the ghettos of World War II, set in counterpoint to the popular and political songs from cabaret stage and cinema, commemorate one of the most powerful moments of modern music history. Echoes from worlds lost to the Shoah resonate with new life in new arrangements. The sonic legacies of lives lost are realized with the extraordinary power and beauty of Jewish cabaret. During the course of the evening the audience will journey through the Yiddish songs created by Mordechai Gebirtig for the Cracow Ghetto and bear witness to the message of songs from the Golden Age of Yiddish film. Milestones of metaphor and allegory give meaning to a historical path that passes through cities as disparate as East European shtetls and the cosmopolitan cities of the Duchess of Chicago. Repertories gathered through the research of the ensemble—works by Viktor Ullmann and Leo Strauss from the concentration camp at Theresienstadt/Terezín, Hebrew songs circulating on postcards between Berlin and Jerusalem and composers such as Stephan Wolpe and Kurt Weill, newly-composed Russian songs by Ilya Levinson—will be experienced in all their staggering beauty. The New Budapest Orpheum Society pays homage to the past, present, and future, seeking the sacred within the whispers still audible for us in the twenty-first century when we listen.
Fulton Recital Hall is located on the fourth floor of Goodspeed Hall, 1010 East 59th Street. Free parking is available after 4 p.m. in the lot on the east side of University Avenue between 59th and 58th streets.
These performances are presented by the University of Chicago Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies with support from the Jean and Harold Gossett Fund in Memory of Holocaust Victims Martha and Paul Feivel Korngold, the UChicago Arts Grant Program, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Catherine Dobson Fund of the Department of Music, the Department of History, the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria, the Federal Chancellery of Austria, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York City, and the generous, indefatigable work of the staff of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.