It is easy to become disorientated in a forest. Especially for those artists who suddenly discover the place they’ve ended up is the site of Nazi massacres. Probably the best way to deal with histories of this kind is to stop and think about them for a very long time before incorporating them into works.

Within easy walking distance of the main venue for the Alytus Biennial is the Vidzgiris Forest. Visitors to the forest will find nine white pyramids above the pits in which the Nazis buried those they murdered at this site. There is also a monument to these victims of fascism which was erected in 1993 and that bears the inscription: “Here, in this place, the Nazis and their local helpers, in the years 1941-1944, murdered tens of thousands of Jewish children, women, men and old people, most of them from other countries. Let their memory live forever.”

The Alytus Biennial is ten years old but it was only during its fifth manifestation that a trip was organised to Vidzgiris Forest. It wasn’t a performance, just an act of remembering and it is documented on a Facebook page among other places. You need to be logged into a Facebook account to see this sober and considered response to the holocaust – it isn’t just about the murders in the forest and is run under the title Alytus and Nazi History. Approaching atrocities of this type through art is often best served by a simplicity of approach –mixing up a variety of concerns with something of this nature is usually a big mistake.

Photo above: 5th Alytus Biennial trip to Vidzgiris Forest, Sunday 25 August 2013.