“The beehive and the paper hive (an archive or library) both fancy themselves utopias in which modern memory is stored up, as honey or as knowledge.”
-The Revolt of the Bees, 2005
In September 2005, Sohn was invited artist to participate in “Site-ations International 2005: Sense in Place” in Lodz, Poland. The exhibition was held in a derelict textile factory built in the late 1800’s by a Jewish manufacturer named Jakob Kestenberg.
Her research trip to Lodz in July led her to create three independent, but related bodies of work, two of which were exhibited in Lodz and one for her MA Fine Art Final Exhibition at the University of Wales Ins
Each work shares the Hebrew word for change, “Shinui” as their title. Inspired by her research into the city as well as her personal experiences, Sohn created an audio/visual archive that embodied themes, symbols and references to the following: notions of purification and renewal; hidden histories relating to people and sites; as well humanistic rituals.
Shinui for Kestenberg Factory
In an attempt to industrialise the nation in the 1800’s, Lodz became the textiles capital of Poland. Known as “Th Promised Land”, people from four different backgrounds moved to the city to work in the textiles industry.
Considering the background of the city and of the site of the Kestenberg factory, Sohn designed three garments out of white cotton. Each garment resembles that of the Kitl or robe which is used to mark new beginnings and stages of life in the Jewish tradition. The garments were installed on the top floor of the factory.
The sound installation created for Lodz makes use of the traditional sounds of a shofar or ram’s horn used in the Autumn to call in the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShana and is blown again to end Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In ancient times the shofar was blown to announce an important event, such as the alarm of war or the coming of peace. Heard from the roof top of the Kestenberg factory the sound of the shofar takes on a multitude of meanings and signals new beginnings for the site of the factory.
The shofar was blown by Rabbi Mordechai Wollenberg and recorded at Cardiff United Synagogue. “Shinui” was heard each night at sunset, from September 24th until October 30th, for the duration of the”Site-ations International: Sense in Place” exhibition in Lodz.
Shinui for Penycoedcae
The work installed for her Masters Show parallels the work of the honeybee with the work of a Jewish practice called a Tahara, the Jewish preparation for burial. Three separate 2 minute videos were back projected into oak frames and white linen.
The frames resemble the structures of beehive slides. Each video was programmed to play on a loop, constantly forming new associations and narratives. The site of the footage was recorded on a farm in her village beside a stream, revealing an old sheep dip now no longer in use.