The Displacement Map is a "documentary without words" by Montana artist Theo Lipfert and Juneau composer Stefan Hakenberg. It wrestles with the question of how events in "remote" Alaska relate to a shop keeper in "Anywhere" or more broadly, how the world is an interdependent place. In four parts, the piece uses visual and musical means to narrate an almost universal story of war and displacement concentrating on Aleut relocation to Southeast Alaska during the Second World War. The first, second, and fourth parts of this work address issues raised by this history. The American government treated German P.O.W.s much more favorably than it did its own Aleut-American citizens. This remarkable disparity highlights the intersection of ethnicity and nationality with political power. In the third, more abstract part, the team share their personal discoveries of the history of the Aleut relocation and how it affected their collaborative vision as composer and video artist.
Theo Lipfert writes: "Many American families have a history of migration and relocation in their own pasts--for many the movement was voluntary, but for some it was forced. The relocation of the Aleuts--which is little known outside Alaska--is a uniquely tragic variation of this fundemental element of American history."
Stefan Hakenberg explained the working relationship which produced the piece: "Theo Lipfert and I established a `call and response' exchange of musical and visual ideas as the technical basis for our collaboration. Sometimes he responded to my music, and other times I responded to his video. In his response to my first submission, he (unexpectedly) confronted me with documentary images of real people and events, not the more abstract video material I anticipated. Writing music to go with these images required me to interpret from the pictures who these people were and what kind of music I would write for them. In the course of the process of collaboration the visual material kept on changing drastically, I worked from the very beginning on the representation of human history, of people both close and remote to me. The scale of Theo's narrative endeavor inspired me to create a musical form that moves toward abstraction rather than narration. The music eventually became a four movement symphony on the themes of war, evacuation, and return." This is the third collaboration between Hakenberg and Lipfert.
(Stefan Hakenberg and Theo Lipfert, 2002)