Parallel Traces A new lens on Jewish Heritage Fri, 08 Nov 2019 15:45:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Parallel Traces 32 32 Parallel Traces in Wroclaw: understanding Jewish heritage today through a new lens Fri, 08 Nov 2019 09:48:52 +0000 Yesterday November 7th, the exhibition of Parallel Traces in Wroclaw, Poland, was inaugurated in the fantastic space of the White Stork synagogue, center of the Bente Kahan Foundation, partner of the Parallel Traces project.


It has been a very special night, where we were able to share ideas and reflections, alongside the creative works of our artists. Bente Kahan, CEO of the foundation, has presented before a large and enthusiastic audience the round table, formed by Daniel Grunfeld and Agnieszka Traczewska (guest artists), Ewa Rossano and Witja Frank (winners of the Parallel Traces contest), together with Rosa Juanco (Parallel Traces artistic director). The discussion covered different topics as the interpretation of heritage, the connection between Jewish heritage and audio-visual art, and above all, of the traces, here and there. A dialogue between artists, between cities, between different ways of working and understanding Jewish heritage today through a new lens. The artists have shared their approach in their work, creating a revealing and significant dialogue within the framework of Parallel Traces.


We want to thank Bente Kahan and Malgorzata Hucko for the fantastic work in the production of the exhibition, with the supervision of the curator Rosa Juanco. Thanks to their dedication, this project travels from city to city, with new forms, transforming itself, becoming a unique production, and above all, offering new content and reflections.




The Parallel Traces exhibition makes a new stop in Wroclaw! Mon, 21 Oct 2019 10:24:33 +0000 The month of November could not start better, and it is because our next Parallel traces event is coming!

The next exhibition “Parallel Traces: A new lens on Jewish Heritage”, will take place on November 7, 2019, at The White Stork Synagogue in Wrocław, Poland.

In this occasion, we can enjoy the participation of Rosa Juanco, Parallel Traces Artistic Director, who already attended the Girona event and some of guest artists and winners who will be his first time in the round table:

  • Agnieszka Traczewska (Guest Artist – Wroclaw, Poland)
  • Daniel Gruenfeld (Guest Artist – Sighet, Romania)
  • Ewa Rossano (Parallel Traces Contest 2nd prize: Category From Now: Presence at Present)
  • Witja Frank (Parallel Traces Contest 1st prize: Category From the Past: Pictures with History)
  • Rosa Juanco (Parallel Traces Artistic Director)

Join us at at 6:00 p.m at Pawła Włodkowica 7, 50-072 Wrocław!

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Parallel Traces in Girona: thank you! Wed, 09 Oct 2019 09:42:57 +0000

On October 1st, 2019, the first Parallel Traces collective travelling exhibition “Parallel Traces: A new lens on Jewish Heritage” was presented in Girona, at the Museum of Jewish History of Girona!

We want to thank all the people who made it possible for the event to be a success. Besides, we would like to recognize the fantastic works of our Guest Artists and their contribution for an inspiring round table, where we were able to learn and discuss on this fascinating and huge issue that is Jewish heritage in Europe.

Check out what happened through the pictures of our artist Nikola Radić Lucati:


See you in Wroclaw!

Opening of the first Parallel Traces exhibition in Girona! Thu, 12 Sep 2019 10:03:50 +0000 The mayor of Girona and president of the Patronat Call of Girona, Marta Madrenas, is pleased to invite you to the inauguration of the European collective exhibition “Parallel Traces: A new lens on Jewish Heritage”, which will take place on October 1, 2019 , in the Museum of Jewish History of Girona (Carrer de la Força, 8, Girona).


This exhibition, produced by the Parallel Traces consortium, brings together the works of different artists from Wroclaw, Sighet, Belgrade, Tbilisi and Girona, and also, the works of the winners of the photography and audiovisual contest of the Parallel Traces project.



19:00 Round table with the intervention of the following artists of the project:
  • Rosa Juanco (Parallel Traces artistic director)
  • Nikola Radic (Belgrade)
  • Israel Ariño (Girona)
  • Josep Maria Oliveras (Girona- 1st prize: Category From Now: Presence at Present)

20:15 Official opening of the exhibition by the authorities

20:30 Cocktail

Join us!

Press release

Parallel Traces Contest results announced! Mon, 12 Aug 2019 12:59:05 +0000 After a careful evaluation from the Jury, the four Parallel traces winners have been selected!

64 submissions were considered eligible and were evaluated by a Jury formed by 12 members, who represented experts in photography and audiovisual, and/or in cultural and jewish heritage. The evaluation, in keeping with the contest guidelines, involved submissions in two categories. The winners in each category are:

From Now: Presence at Present
1st place: Josep Maria Oliveras (applying for Girona)
2nd place: Ewa Rossano (applying for Wroclaw)

From the Past: Pictures with History
1st place: Witja Frank (applying for Wroclaw)
2nd place: Tsotne Tsereteli (applying for Tbilisi)

The winners will receive case prizes amounting to a total of 5000€, with first place in each category receiving 1500€ and second place 1000€. The winning artworks will be exhibited during the Parallel Traces exhibitions around Europe promoting the transnational circulation of Art, and the Artists will have the possibility to travel to one of the partner cities to participate in the exhibition opening to present their work.


Intermediate Partners Meeting in Barcelona Thu, 04 Jul 2019 11:03:03 +0000 The Parallel Traces Intermediate Partners Meeting was held on July 1st 2019, hosted by Project Leader AEPJ in its headquarter Casa Adret in Barcelona.

The day was a great occasion to evaluate the past few months of the project and to prepare for upcoming activities. Among the main takeaways, the partners renewed their joint effort and commitment to disseminate and spread the word about the project’s actions, particularly in light of the extended deadline of the Parallel Traces Contest (July 17th 2019).

It was agreed that winners of the Contest will be announced during the first week of August; the first exhibition will then be held in Girona in October.

Each Guest Artist will travel to one of the Local Partners cities, and details about mobility allocations will be announced shortly.

Don’t forget to submit your artwork, and follow our social media for the latest updates!


European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESJF) Thu, 06 Jun 2019 12:45:58 +0000 We are happy to support and present to you the very innovative and remarkable work of our colleagues, European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESJF).

ESJF started its work in 2015, surveying and fencing Jewish cemeteries in order to protect them from destruction, and to date it has protected 123 sites in seven countries across Central and Eastern Europe.

Their new project, co-funded by the European Union, aims at mapping Jewish cemeteries in Europe, surveying  1,500 cemeteries in five countries (Greece, Lithuania, Moldova, Slovakia, and Ukraine), using cutting-edge drone technology. It will explore good examples of their successful preservation and valorisation and proposing a model for their safeguarding in the future, also with the involvement of local communities and authorities, residents, schools, youth organisations through educational activities to ensure sustainability and success of the project.
Information collected is being uploaded and hosted on the project’s website, and includes aerial photo, historical and geographical data, and cemetery threat assessment – providing a public and accessible database of Jewish cemeteries in Europe.

If you want to know more about the project, its relevance and work, you can explore ESJF website and the project’s website!

Nikola Radić Lucati: “Walk, look, read, remember, learn and listen” Wed, 05 Jun 2019 15:33:10 +0000 Can you tell us something about your aesthetics and inspiration for artistic work?

There is no aesthetics, really. The appearance of the work follows the pattern of its communication, but also the choices, the curation of the cultural heritage involved. It comes in time of the dissolution of photography as the time and memory based medium, its current state of it becoming a purely applied art, infinitely adaptable to all purposes and therefore, invisible. This creates a problem with its inherent, century old qualities when relating to the politics of memory – its diminishing ability to return the gaze to the viewer. There are still points of intersection with literature and its human performative foundation, the sound, the reading. With those, I have sought out where and how the origins of the current local concepts of Jewish identity and heritage were created, and are still visible, as well as audible. Incidentally Danilo Kiš wrote that there is no such thing as cultural heritage. For him, It was something lived and created every day.

To what extent and in what way does the topic of the Parallel Traces project match with your previous work?

The “Parallel Traces” project is a rare opportunity to try and build a personally re-defined version of the local history of cultural heritage. Not only that, but to present it as part of the network of different “readings” of the concepts of Jewish culture and heritage from very different facets of Jewish tradition, and in the context of differing cultural policies in the countries involved. The translation – based textual and audio part of the work is the direct extension of the methods I have been using regularly in researching the causes for editorial, curatorial choices in forming the cultural policies in different historical periods and locales.

“The “Parallel Traces” project is a rare opportunity to try and build a personally re-defined version of the local history of cultural heritage

What is your source of inspiration for work that you will produce within the Parallel Traces project?

The primary choices will always be personal, of course. My growing-up in Belgrade Jewish community has fortunately given me a primary “memory vault” to draw upon. The persons whose facets of life and work I am weaving into the work are frequently the ones that were part of my childhood. Both the voices and music in audio, as well as the angles and shadows of photography are drawing on the tension between the present and that far-from idyllic past of the 70s and 80s.

Can you describe the process of creation of the artwork within the Parallel Traces project?

The methods are outwardly simple. I walk, look, read, remember, learn and listen. Taking photographs of what results opens the work to the unexpected. The intersections of meanings, their relevance and inter – referential structures are growing in complexity, pressuring the ability of the work to communicate to people outside the field of references. The framework for the works in this case is a given, but mercifully comfortable enough. The process of creation is hard to limit, as the work and its referential field always have a tendency to grow. Choosing how to highlight the small parts of that growth while keeping the rest visible, or at least hinted at, is the crucial part of the work for me, while avoiding to be overly technical or explanatory. The origins of the work, and the personal memories at its root are what gives me hope it may become relatable and relevant to others, as memories are triggered by images and sounds, and have the potential to connect people in ways I can hardly predict, but only hope for.

“…memories are triggered by images and sounds, and have the potential to connect people in ways I can hardly predict, but only hope for”

See the ordinary as unusually spectacular: the world of Guest Artist Daniel Grünfeld Wed, 15 May 2019 10:51:45 +0000 Why do you do what you do?

There isn’t one single reason for why I ended up working as a photographer. It just turned out to be a perfect combination of multiple factors that I enjoy very much. I did various other things before coming to photography at around the age of 32. Some of the factors that led me to photography were biographical: my grandparents on my father’s side were also photographers for example; other factors had to do with my theoretical interests in the anthropology of science. One major research project I did at university was to look at how we use imaging techniques and machines in astronomy.  I was trying to blur the lines between science, art and mythology, and reveal the connections between these three areas, but I don’t think I really managed to convince anyone that these things are constantly leaking into each other. If you would put me on the spot and make me really name one main reason for doing what I am doing, then I’d probably say something about how I am actually more interested in the process of making photographs, rather than in the resulting images themselves. What I love about this work is that it gives me a kind of free pass to go out into the world and just follow my intuitions and curiosities, connect with people and get a glimpse of “life worlds” that are completely new to me. I guess this concept of Lifeworld  (Lebenswelten) is an important part of my attitude towards photography. I was lucky to study anthropology with Tim Ingold, a thinker I admire immensely, and I suppose that this approach he developed that became known as the “dwelling perspective” is central to what I do. I love seeing things through other people’s eyes; connect to them and their places and then somehow share these experiences. I want to tell people, “Hey look at this thing! it’s beautiful and weird and amazing!”

“What I love about this work is that it gives me a kind of free pass to go out into the world and just follow my intuitions and curiosities”

What does Parallel Traces as a project mean for you?

It was very interesting for me to come to Sighet, pretty much the opposite side of Transylvania of where I am from, and explore Jewish traditions that at first felt quite different to the one I belong to. During my upbringing the Jews that were revered were Freud, Durkheim, Einstein and Kafka, and not the Rebbe of Satmar. I knew hardly anything about the orthodox Jewish schools of Maramures before starting to work on this project. I am happy I had a chance to explore this part of the Jewish people that I myself belong to. It really broadened the picture for me.

How was it like to shoot in Sighet for the project? Were there any relevant moments you would
like to recall? people you met, things you saw, interesting shots…

To be honest, Sighet was one of the best working environments I had experienced so far. From the start, I felt right at home there. Particularly the way in which people approach and talk to each other has a kind of simplicity and directness that I think is remarkable. Every day there was surprising and intense, and so many people I met seemed a little bit weird and interesting in ways that I loved. While in Sighet I started doing a series of portraits and I’m looking forward to publishing them in the future and share a whole bunch of really bizarre situations that these people led me into.  Apart from the people, I thought that the light and the colours in Maramures were phenomenal. Every place in the world has its own light and its own palette of colours and that is a really fascinating thing to observe and work with. I arrived in Sighet in early March, just when the snow was starting to melt and left these deep brown and greenish hues in the landscape. Heavy wintery clouds were often still in the sky, turning the sunlight into this diffused deep illumination that seemed to be coming from everywhere. It really made me wish I was a better landscape photographer.

“Every place in the world has its own light and its own palette of colours and that is a really fascinating thing to observe and work with”

I actually want to show you this one picture I took:

It was during a sudden hail and snow and rain that came upon us while in the middle of nowhere, and I think that it can tell you a lot about what kind of place Maramures is around this time of the year.

Share with us a story from your work/career.

I don’t know really, there’s so much happening all the time! What comes to mind is maybe this early period when I learnt photography from Manfred Wegener, a photojournalist who for thirty years worked more or less exclusively for a magazine in Cologne called StadtRevue. I also now work for them regularly. I basically spent about two years cycling after Manfred through the streets of Cologne assisting him and doing the odd assignment here and there under his mentorship. I have this image of him, of how he always had his tripod strapped to the frame of his bike like a lance and his camera just thrown over his shoulder, with his white curly hair flapping around, riding through the city like Don Quijote. I loved that time and I really learned a lot. At some point I wrote under a picture I framed for him for his birthday, that what I thought he actually taught me during that time was the ability to suddenly see the ordinary as unusually spectacular and to accept the extraordinary as naturally common.

Tell us about the person or/and a word/phrase that you carry with you all the time.

Well, I actually do have this little thing I take with me wherever I travel. It’s always in my bag somewhere. Someone gave it to me about ten years ago and I’m sure she would be very surprised to know that I still have it with me. It’s a little piece of thick cloth wrapped around a round coin made of clay. The shape of a fairy is imprinted into it. She is called the Road Fairy. The cloth wrapping the coin has a little prayer written on it. It’s in Hebrew and it goes like this:

My path
is this very step right now
and in every moment I can choose
to stop and to breathe
to look anew
to listen to my heart
and to remind myself
that the time is now.

Daniel Grünfeld
Daniel Grünfeld is an internationally published documentary photographer, currently living and working between Germany, Romania and Israel. Coming from a philosophy and social anthropology background, his main interests in photography are quasi ethnographic, though he ends up doing a lot of portraiture, fashion campaigns and architecture photography. Most of his work is for editorials and documentary projects that are published in books and magazines.
In recent years, apart from his commercial and editorial work, he began working on various assignments concerning Jewish history in Romania. Among the organizations and collaborating partners were: Centropa (Vienna), The David Berg Foundation (New York), The Hebrew University – Center for Jewish Art (Jerusalem), Anne Frank Zentrum (Berlin), Center for Hebrew Studies & Goldstein Goren Center for Israel Studies (Bucharest), JewishGen (New York), Claims Conference (New York).
Due to his background in cultural anthropology and as a descendant of Transylvanian Jews, he is seeking to extend his body of work at the intersection of documentary and artistic photography, as well as historical and ethnographic research.
As is probably the case with many photographers, his style, his topical interests and forms of publication, as he himself admits, are by no means definite. They are rather a constant work in progress, in which Daniel is always seeking to improve, keen on trying out new things and finding new ways of communication.

Dialogue, teamwork and cooperation for the success of Parallel Traces: a conversation with Victor from AEPJ! Mon, 29 Apr 2019 13:10:08 +0000 AEPJ is the project leader of Parallel Traces: what are the challenges that you have faced and what are you learning from your involvement in this role? What has been the most rewarding aspect until now?

Perhaps the most important challenge is that this is our first project within the Creative Europe Program. From the design of the application to the first steps, everything has been a learning process. Since the first moment, we have believed a lot in the project and in the positive impact it could have, thus we have tried to replace the lack of experience with a lot of work and motivation. I feel very fortunate to be part of such a professional and committed team. In this regard, I am very grateful to all my colleagues of CUMEDIAE, with whom we have ventured together from the first moment in moving the project forward. From the very beginning, when it was just an idea, a dream, to the management of actions and activities. Without their help, we would not have been able to present this project with the guarantees that a European project needs. And this is the aspect that is most rewarding for me. The dialogue, teamwork and cooperation. The institutions that are part of the Parallel Traces Consortium have very different backgrounds and fields of work, and I think we complement each other in a very interesting way. An intercultural dialogue, which is a fundamental aspect of the project, has begun with the same institutions that have defined the project.

What are the synergies between Parallel Traces and European Routes of Jewish Heritage? What does the experience from that project bring to Parallel Traces, and how can Parallel Traces feed and support European Routes of Jewish Heritage?

Our Routes project represent a window to discover the Jewish presence in Europe, presenting Jewish heritage as an integral part of European history and culture. It is important to note that the nature of Jewish heritage is complex. Our field of work integrates two thousand years of history and a good part of it is marked by a legacy that includes very dark pages of European history, such as the Second World War. Here, the challenge is to be able to create narratives in positive, without escaping, or without hiding parts of a heritage that touch the deepest sensitivities. Although these facts force us to be very careful, it is also true that it invites us to be in a privileged position to promote and put into practice the values of the Council of Europe: human rights, cultural diversity, and intercultural dialogue.

In this sense, the clearest and most important synergy between the projects would be to understand the places of Jewish heritage as a living laboratory, in which we question what significance that place had in the past, but inviting the citizens to reinterpret and seek new meanings and experiences in the present and in the future. The experience of knowing and understanding “the other”. The question always arises on how to create new experiences around the traces and remnants of these heritage sites. I believe that such open process of interpretation may stimulate European citizens to co-construct a common democratic perception of their history. We believe that this is the best antidote to any kind of discrimination, including antisemitism, that is based on ignorance.

If you could put your personal vision of Parallel Traces in one sentence, what would that be?

Perhaps I would highlight the great opportunity offered by the project to combine audiovisual art and heritage, as well as the promotion of understanding among peoples, so necessary in today’s Europe.

Victor Sorenssen is the director of the AEPJ, the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage, and member of the Jury.
In addition to participating in different European projects, he coordinates in the AEPJ the European Route of Jewish Heritage of the Council of Europe and the European Days of Jewish Culture. In Barcelona, he is co-director of the Mozaika Jewish Cultural Platform and the Casa Adret Cultural Center, an innovative space for the promotion of Jewish culture and social activism. Victor Sorenssen has a degree in Political Science and has studied Semitic Philology.