It’s
important to note that the Jewish Museum is not one that looks to the nostalgia
of yesterday, but one that propels itself towards the future of existence in
Germany. Whatever the reactions of the visitors are, the expectations and
anticipations of the visitors will be connected to their own view of this
history – it’s open to interpretation; hence why several different routes are
present within the internal experience. This experience is dependent on the
engagement of its visitors with the implication of an ongoing history – for its
history is not over. History is not the statistics of the 6 million Jews that
lost their lives only, but also of the million other Jews who want to keep
their culture alive, despite the tragic events. In Rwanda, people have no way
of passing on the memory of the genocide between 1990 and 1994, because they
are prohibited from even talking about what happened in war so there is a huge
gap in their history, and although it’s a painful event, the more time passes
from the tragic event, the more people are going to forget the reasons why and
who even started this war in the first place.

Tragic
events such as the genocide in Rwanda, the Apartheid and the Holocaust in WWII
are horrible situations which no one wants to go through. When going through a
horrible event people tend to shut down, and try to forget – but these tragic
events happened and cannot be forgotten or undone. As human beings we are
scarred with horrible memories but we can’t force ourselves to forget, because
we grow from these experiences; silencing and concealment will only cause our
history to become incomplete – the way to move forward is to accept what had
happened, embrace it and move on stronger than ever before; that’s why
collective memory is so important.
(Crysler, Cairns and Heynen, 2013, p.329-330)

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MEANINGS

Andrew
Ballantyne talks about the importance of having a relation of buildings to who
we are, and he discusses this in light of familiarity; a home is meaningful to
us because we have personal relations within it. People feel architecture
differently from one another, it depends on their experiences and memories
during their lifetime. Libeskind wanted people to experience the museum in a
unique way – deciding for themselves which route to take and which not to take,
making the experience more interactive with its visitors through: meaning and
familiarity. Libeskind makes use of the built-up form to communicate the
process of the museum indirectly; giving it meaning which varies from one
person to another. (Ballantyne,
2002, p.36)

One
particularly interesting exhibition within the museum is the installation
Shalekhet- Fallen Leaves by Menashe Kadishman. The installation takes place in
the Memory void, where 10,000 steel faces are distributed all over the ground.
The meaning of the installation is non-literal – but by engaging our senses we
immediately realize that this experience is not a mere coincidence but in reality,
it becomes a memory for visitors as well; and the meaning of the installation
will manifest itself differently according to personal experiences. The aspect
of familiarity is therefore implemented not through physicality, but through
familiarity with feeling. Buildings become “great” when they revolutionize the progress
of events and mark out a new chapter as the story is being told – these
building “look ahead of their time” because they are telling a story which is
still incomplete and needs our input to become whole. (Ballantyne, 2002, p.97)