Anton Kusters 

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The Blue Skies Project (2018)

The Blue Skies Project consists of several connected works over different media and platforms speaking of the time-sensitive representation of trauma and memorialisation today.

The large central piece “One Thousand and Seventy-eight Blue Skies (2018)” consists of 1078 individually mounted, slowly fading polaroid images of blue skies, and forms a dialogue with a real time 4432 day long generative sound piece “The Tracking of One Thousand and Seventy-eight Blue Skies (2018)” by Ruben Samama.

Over a six-year period, Anton Kusters researched and photographed a blue sky at the last known location of every former nazi Germany concentration camp and killing center across Europe. These nazi Germany concentration camps existed from 1933 to 1945 in a highly organised system of imprisonment, forced labor, and murder. More than half of these 1078 sites have no visual remains today.

Peel-apart instant film mounted on aluminium sandwich panel, wood. Datasheet

Installation dimensions variable (987,6 x 145 x 85 cm)

Real-time generative audio piece, duration 4432 days

In 2019, a reproduction of the central piece One Thousand and Seventy-eight Blue Skies (2019) was installed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

In 2021, a monograph on the work was published by Kehrer Verlag.

The Blue Skies Project is curated and produced by Monica Allende.

The installation is accompanied by works across several platforms: a travelling exhibition, a documentary feature, and an educational outreach programme.


    • V&A Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
    • ICP International Center for Photography, New York City, US
    • FoMu FotoMuseum Antwerp, BE

Research sources

    • Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, published by Indiana University Press & United States Holocaust Memorial Museum –
    • Der Ort des Terrors. Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager, Wolfgang Benz/Barbara Distel, published by C.H.Beck (9 volumes)
    • Bundesministerium der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz, Sechste Verordnung zur Durchführung des Bundesentschädigungsgesetzes (6. DV-BEG); Anlage zu § 1 Verzeichnis der Konzentrationslager und ihrer Außenkommandos gemäß § 42 Abs. 2 B


    • Ulrich Baer, Spectral Evidence - the photography of Trauma, The MIT Press (2012)
    • Otto Dov Kulka, Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death, Allen Lane (2013)
    • Eva Hoffman, After Such Knowledge, Vintage (2005)
    • Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others, Penguin (2003)
    • Mark Godfrey, Abstraction and the Holocaust, Yale University Press (2007)
    • Georges Perec, W or the memory of childhood, Vintage (2011)
    • Eyal Weizman, Forensic Architecture, Zone Books (2017)
    • W.G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction, Penguin Books (2003)
    • Judith Butler, Frames of War - When is Life Grievable
    • Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved, Abacus (1986)
    • Geoff Dyer, The Missing of the Somme, Canongate Books (1994)
    • Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem, Penguin Books (1977)
    • Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer - Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Stanford University Press (1998)
    • Robert Hariman, No Caption Needed, University of Chicago Press (2007)
    • Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands - Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Vintage (2010)
    • Judith Butler, Precarious Life, Verso (2006)
    • Susie Linfield, The Cruel Radiance, University of Chicago Press (2010)
    • Ariella Azoulay, The Civil Contract of Photography, Zone Books (2008)
    • Giorgio Agamben, Remnants of Auschwitz, Zone Books (1999)


    • “Pompidou”, Nicky Aerts, vrt Radio Klara
    • “Inventaire Macabre”, M Le magazine du Monde, nº 514
    • “Luchten als getuigen van de Gruwel”,  Rik van Puymbroeck, De Tijd
    • “Techniek staat voor mij ten dienste van het Narratief”, Rudi Smeets, De Standaard
    • “Arles 2021: my week at Arles”, Ghislain Pascal, L’Oeil de la Photographie
    • “Expo ‘Blue Skies’ van Anton Kusters richt blik op blauwe hemel boven 1078 voormalige concentratiekampen”, Mathijs Bijnens, VRT NWS
    • “Les obsessions d’Anton Kusters”, Baudouin Eschapasse, Le Point
    • “Anton Kusters reframes memory in a work that maps the atrocities of the Holocaust”, Cat Lachowskyj, BJP British Journal of Photography
    • “Meine Fotos sind Spiegel für Alle”, Carola Padtberg, Der Spiegel
    • “Deutsche Börse Foundation Prize 2020”, GUP Guide to Unique Photography
    • “Smukke, smukke, blå, blå himmel. Hvad er det for et helvede, du har været loft over?”, Politiken dk
    • “Kunst für eine Bessere Welt”, Claudia Bodin, Art Magazin DE
    • “You Cannot See Colors in Moonlight”, Sarah Jasmon, A Thousand Word Photos
    • “Anton Kusters’ The Blue Skies Project”, 1000 Words magazine
    • “1.078”, Beeldverhaal De Standaard dS Weekblad
    • “Beste Anton Kusters”, Gaea Schoeters, Rekto/Verso magazine
    • “Carrying the Weight of Genocide Through Photography”, Rachel Gould, Culturetrip
    • “Reimagining History and Trauma”, Vantage
    • “Settembre 2017. Alderney (Kanalinsel)”, Arianna Rinaldo, Internazionale
    • “Pompidou”, Kurt van Eeghem, vrt Radio Klara

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