Ich bin gesund, es geht mir gut
The commemorative project bears the title Postkarten können wir eine pro Person schreiben (We Can Write One Postcard Per Person) where 20,000 residents of St. Pölten were sent personally addressed postcards. The front of the cards show contemporary photographs, views of locations in the Viehofen district that were once the sites of Nazi exploitation and extermination. There is a hand-written sentence on the back of the cards: "Ich bin gesund, es geht mir gut" (I am healthy and doing fine).
The Memory That Comes Home to Roost
Over the course of a year 20,000 residents of St. Pölten will find a personally addressed handwritten postcard in their letterboxes. The views on the card show initially inconspicuous motifs photographed in the Viehofen district of St. Pölten that are the sites of Nazi exploitation and extermination during the second world war: the camp for Hungarian Jewish forced labourers that was replaced by a gravel pit lake in the 1960s, the Glanzstoffwerke forced labour camp south of this, and the mass grave in St. Pölten municipal cemetery. The photographs do not, however, show the historical memory of these locations but its successful suppression. Each card bears the handwritten sentence in blue ink: Ich bin gesund, es geht mir gut (I am healthy and doing fine) — a line that had to be included on every postcard sent from concentration camps in the Third Reich. Those personally addressed stand in contrast to the ever nameless sender; the individual is being sent a commemoration of the countless numbers of people who were forced to write these sycophantic words.
Tatiana Lecomte has developed a memorial far removed from traditional forms in the culture of commemoration by starting from the image-storing commemorative function of photography. She constructs a fictive level of communication between the past and the present, so tearing away the veil of historical distance and bearing testimony to absent witnesses with the intention of encouraging conversations and discussions. The memorial becomes a memory that comes home to roost.