Jüdisches Krankenhaus Berlin is a photo-and-video-based work focusing on the history of the Jewish Hospital in the area of Wedding in Berlin, which remained throughout all of World War II and the Holocaust. The installation consists of two video feeds and a complimentary audio track that mixes sound recordings from the site in 2012 with archival footage of Hilde Kahan, the hospital’s secretary during the war, and the only surviving document of what life was like during this important time in history. The video was recorded on site in Berlin, where Malcolm Levy broke into the hospital grounds and filmed without detection.
The work is driven by a non-indexical or abstract approach to digital photography and video that offers new perspectives, found within the everyday. Aesthetically these interests are rooted in a place where the camera lens and pulse take over that of observers’ own perceptions. The camera is used as a tool more similar to that of a paintbrush rather than a recording device. Reframing narratives and stories, geographies and locations, the work seeks to find alternate means of understanding the context of our surroundings.
Alongside the video installation are a series of still images and collages. The locations within the hospital are all part of Hilde’s story and relate to the estimate of places and events that happened during that time. Purposefully devoid of any jump cuts or edits, the work strives to keep the observations and order of statements intact. Additionally, a manuscript is presented on a plinth in the centre of the space with the transcripts of Kahan’s interview, as well as a map of the hospital and a history of the timeline of the hospital from its inception in the 1800s to the present day.