This program is part of the Night Flights series, presented by the ICP Lab. The ICP Lab is a new home for visual storytellers to experiment with technology and create interactive and immersive experiences.

Seventy-five years ago, human beings succeeded in creating an industrial system to deplete and ultimately obliterate other human beings.

For the first time, Belgian photographer Anton Kusters presents his conceptual Blue Skies Project after completing his six-year journey visiting every single former Nazi concentration camp in Europe.

The Blue Skies Project is a conceptual installation consisting of 1,078 mounted Polaroids of blue skies supported by a 13-year audio piece created by sound artist Ruben Samama.

The installation will be accompanied by an open source mobile mapping app, an online evolving artwork redistributing the original images, and a book published by Lars Müller Publishers.

The documentation process relies on location coordinates, incorporates numeric data, and closely follows good weather reports showing the days of blue sky above each of the 1,078 identified locations. The photography exercise consisted in capturing the sky at each location in just three original Polaroids.

At this world premiere, Kusters and Samama will introduce this profound journey, share details from their collaboration, and address how the project is meant to help the public process that which isn’t, still today, fully comprehensible.

In its meditative nature and its reverberation to our present times, the Blue Skies Project contributes to the fight against the erosion of memory. In its epic and metaphorical vision, it highlights the massive scale of a genocide without showing its atrocities, to remind all of us how quickly hatred could spark organized, industrial human annihilation. In a time of technological global monopoly and its fissures, the Blue Skies Project is a milestone between futures and memories.

“Consciousness has internalized and submerged the sensation of the bold summer colours of that immense space; of the cerulean skies, the aeroplanes—and of the boy gazing at them and forgetting everything around him. There is almost no return to that Metropolis, with its sombre colours, with the sense of the immutable law that encloses all its beings within confines of allotted time and of death; that is, there is almost no sense of a return to that world without a sense of return to those wonderful colours, to that tranquil, magical and beckoning experience of those blue skies of the summer of 1944 in Auschwitz-Birkenau.” – Otto Dov Kulka, Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death; Published by Allen Lane, 2013, ISBN 978-1-84614-683-1; p. 76

Read an exclusive conversation with artist Anton Kusters about collective memory and making images about the Holocaust: The Blue Skies Project: Reimagining History and Trauma


Anton Kusters (b. 1974) is a visual artist working with photography, book, and installation. He is the author of Yakuza and Mono No Aware. Stemming from an initial documentary approach, Kusters is concerned by the limits of understanding, the difficulties of representing trauma, the loss of the experience of place, and the act of commemoration. His work investigates other ways of seeing, mechanisms of memory and remembrance, and the significance of viewer placement and subject position. Kusters has a master’s degree in political science at KU Leuven (Belgium) and is co-founder of Burn magazine. He lives and works in Belgium and Japan.

Ruben Samama (b. 1985) is an award-winning sound artist, composer, and record-producer currently dividing his time between Amsterdam and New York. His work mainly focuses on creating an alternate reality where, by purposely omitting information or presenting the subject in an abstraction, the listener has the freedom to go through the rabbit hole and back. Through his work, Samama proposes a loosening up of perspectives and encourages fresh ways of relating to one another.

ICP’s Center for Visual Culture and accompanying programs have been made possible through the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support is provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and The Bern Schwartz Family Foundation. 
TOP IMAGE: © The Blue Skies Project, Contact Sheet Auschwitz, @antonkusters