Faith and personal beliefs are dictated by several circumstantial factors. The environment we grew up in, the experiences we have encountered in our lives, the education we have received etc. I was brought up within a catholic family, with an atheist father in a predominantly protestant area. The mixture of catholic values, logical and scientific reasoning and outside expectations has influenced my own personal beliefs as well as my accumulated knowledge and exposure to theories and philosophies from literature.
I became aware a few years ago that belief wasn’t just about what you believe but also about who you are and how you define yourself. After reading Jonathon Safran Foer’s ‘Everything is Illuminated’ I became open to the idea that despite your parents and your cultural backdrop experiences can change your views on life. For example, in the book an old woman who witnessed atrocities during the holocaust in the Ukraine is quoted in saying ‘I do not believe in God and if he does exist, he doesn’t deserve to be believed in.’
Faith and belief do not stop with religion, for many it starts there but it extends to how we look at the world. Those people of my generation, who grew up in the same environment, will perhaps share my experience of feeling distant from the occurences in WWII. However, those of the same generation who were raised in the Ukraine, Russia or Germany will have a very different view.
This piece in the first stages of the project is to demonstrate the intricate nature of how different environments colour our perception of one subject. Taking a found photograph of jewish ghetto orphans during the German occupancy, I layered upon it an extract of facts and figures found on a website displaying the percentages of deaths brought about through the holocaust. Using different levels of filtration to represent the varying degree of exposure and connection to the subject, I found that there is a direct correlation between, words, numbers and images. Our emotional connection to the subject varies with how much information is between us and how much exposure we have to the subjective nature of the happening.
The literature of Foer is coloured by an ancestral connection, the words of those who were there the atrocities are shaped by the emotional trauma and suffering and the opinions of those who had little to no connection are influenced by the facts, the figures and the secondary evidence. None gives the whole picture, none is a whole account and the varying viewpoints are but the view from through the facet of a gem. Altered, shimmering but never clear.