About this project
Thank you for taking the time to look at our project: Distant Relations.
NOTE AS OF NOV 10, 2011:
As you can see we have reached our goal, however, we still need funds to bring the project to fruition. This includes: post-production (scanning, printing, video editing), book design and publishing, web design and publishing, and development of the educational program and traveling exhibition. If you are considering giving please be assured that your donation will go directly to the production of this work. Many thanks for your support!
I am photographing the dispersion of my family to the far corners of the world from a small village in Lithuania 100 years ago. My photographs of this family, most of them now strangers to one another, touch the imagination with what happened in the distant past, what kinds of lives they live now, what could have been, and what might take place in the future. The collected images illustrate the displacements that are intrinsic to diaspora.
I am raising funds to complete the photography and interviews in Argentina, Australia, England and Israel. I would like to complete this work by the end of 2012 and create an educational website, book, and traveling exhibition. I expect Distant Relations to be a catalyst for the many young people in this country and abroad to better understand neighbors, recent arrivals, and migrants, in an increasingly complex and fluid world.
To learn more about my work, see the links at the bottom of this page.
For more on this work, please read the text below by my cousin, Roy Richard Grinker, whose grandfather started this whole journey:
In 1960, my grandfather, Roy R. Grinker, wrote a simple letter with the salutation “Dear Grinkers,” to anyone he could find with our surname (a small number in those days before Google searching was invented). Were he alive today, he would find scores of Grinkers on Facebook. But the overflowing bounty of the Internet brings its own deficiencies, gaps, and questions. Finding Grinkers in Ukraine, South Africa and England is not the same thing as knowing how they built their lives, imagined their pasts and futures, or situated themselves in historical and social landscapes, as members of nations and families, and as Jews.
This project is fundamentally about the places that the Grinkers have made and inhabit. Yet scholars have long sought to understand Jewish history more through time than place. In large part because European Jews were marginalized, and denied territory or political autonomy, the spiritual foundation of Judaism was built on family, education, sacred events, and ritual. This emphasis made Judaism all the more difficult to destroy. Jews could even go without religious practice or belief in God, seeing spirituality as a secondary accretion to the more primary heritage that unites Jews not in space but in culture and time.
Much has changed, of course. There is the Jewish state of Israel, all Jews belong to nations, and people can express and experience their Jewishness through various forms of religious and civic engagement. Still, many Jews continue to understand their Jewishness without any spatial or institutional connection to the religion. Thus Lori Grinker’s multi-sited ethnography of one family on four continents is a study of the everyday, of ordinary spaces that, despite being ordinary, have great meaning and power.
Lori Grinker focuses more on particular environments than people and practices. Paradoxically, however, the photographs, many without people or faces, challenge us to imagine. Who are the people who made these worlds? And how does someone experience a life through them? There is, in these captivating images, what might be called either a present absence or an absent presence. We are compelled to look beyond the shreds and patches that comprise our memories, like letters and photographs, to the unseen. These images, and the people and places they represent, are fragmentary, perhaps like the Jews themselves, but they cohere around their incompleteness and instability, characteristics that are the essence of diaspora.
Roy Richard Grinker, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, The George Washington University
- To see more about my work, please visit the links below, You will have a good idea of the projects' scope, outreach, and the positive effects a photography project can have on a community or individual. - LG
There is an exhibition of Part 1 of this work up right now (till October 15) at the Nailya Alexander Gallery (http://www.nailyaalexandergallery.com).
Your funding will go towards Part 2, which will complete the project.
The second exhibit, which will have educational programing and a great panel talk will open on Dec 1, 2011 at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan:
Distant Relations on NPR's100 words
Distant Relations in the NY Times, Sept, 20, 2011
Distant Relations in the New Yorker, Oct 3-10, 2011:
(The links below are also on the lower rights side of this page in case you have trouble with the hyperlink here):
SPECIAL THANKS TO MARK ABRAMSON AND DANIELLE STACK FOR THEIR CINEMATOGRAPHY AND EDITING WORK!
THINK OF HOLIDAY GIFTS, Hanukkah and Christmas are on the way.
If you are not able to give a donation, please send the link around - that can be a huge help
Thank you all.
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- (56 days)