OUTSIDE THE LORRAINE MOTEL: A Contemporary Pilgrimage 


How we respond to our environment is a central theme in David Katzenstein’s ongoing documentary project, The Human Experience. Engaged with his subjects and surroundings, the artist’s images evoke a larger narrative that is unique to time and place.

In the spring of 2017, David Katzenstein set off to discover a new story, one that speaks of the quiet moments of fragmented memory resonating with reverence and reflection, absence and loss, floating above hope and reality. Arriving at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel David Katzenstein came upon a hallowed place where families, individuals, friends, and strangers come to experience their personal relationship within the collective narrative, the shared experience that is the human experience.

Pilgrimage is defined as a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. The shrine is defined as a preserved and active place of devotion.

Moving through the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, the confluence of active learning and self discovery is mirrored with memory and legacy. Standing in the center of the museum’s open plaza, the visitor becomes a participant in the historical import of place and time creating a shrine to past and present. A hallowed space, the location provides a portal to personal growth through the exploration of the past. Fragmented and fallible, memories that have been shaped by multiple sources of information can now be assimilated and formed anew creating a more vibrant understanding of experience and fact.

To experience the course of one’s life on earth through the lens of history and legacy is transformative. The search for identity within the context of today’s global civil rights issues marks a distinct moment in our time.

This series of photographs aims to create a introspective dialogue around the individual’s search for identity within the context of today’s global civil and human rights issues.

Stationed in a discreet and unobtrusive manner outside the museum, Katzenstein will document the visitors before and after their experience. These distinct moments in time, placed side by side, will create a mosaic where one is free to make associative connections that speak to emotion, impact, and transformation.

Outside the Lorraine Motel is part of Katzenstein’s larger body of work, The Human Experience, a collection of his visual explorations that span over the past 30 years. His work presents the positive aspects of peoples and cultures, and takes the viewer on countless journeys near and far.