susan-hiller

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Susan Hiller, Dream Mapping, (1973)

Dream Mapping was an art event provocatively poised between an experiment (social or scientific) and a performance without an audience. Seven dreamers slept for three nights inside “fairy rings” in an English meadow marked by an abundance of circles formed naturally by Marasmius oreades mushrooms, a landscape feature that occurs in a number of British folk myths. The field became a site for dream experiences which were discussed and mapped the following morning. The dream maps of each participant were collected and copied onto transparent paper, sandwiched together, and traced to compile a composite group map for each night. A number of shared features were noted.

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There are 303 roads, streets, and paths in Germany, whose names refer to a Jewish presence. Artist Susan Hiller has visited all of them over a three-year period, filming and taking photographs of these historically evocative places. The J. Street Project is an exhibition of photographs, video and an artist’s book that explores the landscape’s capacity to memorialize. Hiller’s subject matter is the tracing of an absence, explicitly named on maps and street signs as “Judenstrasse” or “Judenweg.” These banal markers invest ordinary German places, inner-city shopping streets, dreamy lanes, anonymous suburbs, and secluded country roads, with an eloquent silence. Hiller’s approach to the enormity of the Holocaust is completely fresh and succeeds in pulling in audiences who no longer feel capable of considering the subject and engages them in a new dialogue about survival and renewal.