Shoah Film Collection -  Interview Project

Borian, Vanane

Vanane Borian
Armenian artist living in Israel

Her video “1915-“, 2015, 2.33
can be reviewed on


10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

I was born in Armenia in 1984. Emigrated with parents to Israel in 1998. Studied bachelor and master degrees at Shenkar college of design, engineering and art. Now I work as a fashion designer at Sacks company and create art projects. Two weeks ago I accepted to the postgraduate studies of Art in Moscow State University.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

I started filming when I created my final project at Master Degree studies. My theme was Armenian Genocide and I inspired by Armenian film director Sergei Parajanov and influenced by his style.

3. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
My works are more instinctive. I start by feelings and after I think about technique and creating aspects. I’m sure, that during more processes and works I will discover some personal principles of filming.

4. What was the reason to start your film included in Shoah Film Collection. Tell me the story behind your film? Why did you choose the given form of representation? Is your film included in Shoah Film Collection the first one dealing with the Holocaust?
My film included first time. I started this theme because I “have” two tragedies by two sides, one of them The Holocaust and the second is Armenian Genocide. I live in Israel and I see how the society and the world refers to the Jewish tragedy and how it deny the second. This situation makes me feel anger, sorrow and weakness. The only way for me to express those feelings is an art. The reason was the visit to Turkey within the studies of Master Degree. After that I started my research and filming.

5. What kind of meaning has the Holocaust to you personally? Are your family or friends affected or did the topic come by chance?
This is tragedy for all humanity, but being part of Jewish nation, living in Israel and understanding, that if I was live in that time in Europe, I could have the same terrible destiny such as 6 million victims of cruelty and evil.

6. Besides the historical relevance related to the persecuted Jews and other people, the Holocaust has a universal relevance. Why is the Holocaust affecting all humans anywhere?
Holocaust is an international tragedy. The evil that caused a lasting damage. Traumatized the nation and humanity as whole. Remembering the Holocaust, it is possible way to prevent the recurrence of such events, but only in case that people will remember and carry this memory to the masses.

7. Now, nearly 70 years after World War II, unfortunately the last Holocaust survivors will be dying soon, and no authentic witness is left to transfer the memory of the Holocaust. The Holocaust is about to be marginalized and dehumanized to any other historical incident, whereby it is measured by its final result and less as an escalating process, countless human individuals were undergoing. What do you think might be ways to re-humanize, touch people again emotionally and keep vivid the memory this way?

People have to continue holding memories. By making art, writing books, telling stories, filming and creating memorial places. In that case nobody will forget, in my opinion.

8. As a phenomenon, the Holocaust is blasting human imagination, which makes it nearly impossible for people to identify themselves with. What needs to be done, that people may find ways for self-identifying? What can do art for it?
Art can connect people, can make them feel different feelings by looking or watching art pieces. Art communicates with a viewer, you can project any idea with art media and transfer it to the people and it doesn’t metter what kind of nation they are. Art is an international language.

9. After the Holocaust and World War II, the traditional (static) visual art media were failing in transferring the memory of the Holocaust, while literature, theatre, music and film were much more successful. On the other hand, due to the new technologies, the boundaries between the “arts” dissolve nowadays and the doors are open to a new interdisciplinary approach. What are the chances for this new (interdisciplinary) perception based on socializing concepts for keeping vivid the memory of the Holocaust? In which way have they to influence the manifestations of Shoah Film Collection via the interventions like a symposium, artists meetings, workshops, exhibitions, performances, screenings, artists talks, discussions etc.

Each activity that collaborates people from different mediums of art, social science, philosophy can give us interesting results. I think , that in our time the multidisciplinary collaboration and combining is the new way to express ideas. It is very important to take experiences from other medias and bring them to the art through the artist prism.

10. What are your future artistic plans? Do you plan to work on new projects dealing with the Holocaust or related topics like “collective trauma caused by totalitarianism”?
I actually would like to continue the theme of Armenian Genocide and the world’s denying of historical facts. And especially denying of Israel and jewish society, that after Holocaust have to recognise Armenian Genocide. I think that it is a moral duty of each descendant of people who passed through similar events. But unfortunately the politics wins. Yet.

Can works of yours viewed online besides on the Shoah Film Collection?
List some links & resources