Absence Of Destruction: The Streets Remember

Installation of photos

Sometimes the sight, today, of the beautiful streets of a European city like Warsaw – shocks me. Knowing what the world looked like, especially what Europe looked like, at the end of the Second World War, it is hard to imagine how anything could grow out of such destruction. It is hard to grasp how the world could go on existing. How it still stands. The streets of today, in a city that was so completely destroyed as Warsaw was, appear as an affirmation of life, of existence, a sight of everyday life. But the contrast with the sights of the past seems to scream for absurdity. It seems to beg for us to notice: every corner of every alley is scarred with absence. Every sidewalk on every street is marked by the horrific destruction that is not there. But it is there. It should be there. It should echo back. The streets remember what was behind the beautifully paved boulevards and renewed buildings. They are inevitably a memorial for the human capacity for devastation, and they are eternally linked with it, no matter how life continues on the surface. I wanted to go back to a few places that were captured in their destruction, and reflect their past appearance against their sight today. They are a marker for us, that every step taken in a city like Warsaw, should bring to mind what is no longer there. That an everyday playground, or park, or driveway, as mundane as it seems, is actually charged with history. They are all memorial sites for the ghosts of the past, and it is a past still too fresh in human history to simply put behind us and go about our everyday business.