On May 15, 2019, one thousand and seventy-eight photographs of the sky above the last known location of every former Nazi Germany concentration camp will go on display at Fitzrovia Chapel in London. These images in blue – a color that symbolizes wisdom, stability, faith, and is meant to calm the mind – collectively bear witness to the systematic trauma that happened below. Created byAnton Kusters, the photographs are collectively titled The Blue Skies Project.
In 2012, Kusters began photographing the sites of concentration camps that existed throughout Europe between 1933 and 1945. Over the course of five years, he photographed the sky above each site, using the same camera settings for each exposure and often waiting for days for a clear sky.
Each photograph is blind-stamped with an identification number and the GPS co-ordinates of the site, along with the estimated number of deaths for each location. “This stark data, reducing the sites and victims to numbers, is a chilling reference to the systematic efficiency of the Nazi’s program of extermination,” writes Fitzrovia Chapel in a statement.
Kusters initiated The Blue Skies Project following the death of his grandfather. Neither Jewish, nor a member of the Belgian resistance, Kusters’s grandfather was nevertheless targeted for deportation by the SS in 1943, and they came looking specifically for him in his small Belgian village. He fled the night they raided his house and avoided capture. Kusters wasn’t able to ask his grandfather about the details before his death. With the series, Kusters contemplates questions like: If his grandfather had been captured, where might he have been taken? What would he have witnessed and remembered?
Void of landscapes and traces of humanity, viewers are invited to immerse themselves in the sky, a place where dreams and spirituality are meant to reside.