International Workshop: H STILL VOIDS
2015 H still voids workshop trail / Graphics © Ana Maria Crisan.
Human memory is a marvelous but fallacious instrument. The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features. (Primo Levi)
In a complementary perspective, Daniel Libeskind put under scrutiny the architectural object marked to host the Jewish Museum in Berlin by asking a particular question: “how can you design an architectural environment evoking what has been lost, when the identity of what you are evoking has been reduced to ashes? In other words, how could he, as an architect, rematerialize the burnt matter, the lost culture, the victims and the obliterated identity? How could he commemorate the specificity of the Jewish Holocaust through architecture? The space voids that he theoretically attested in the end express the emptiness that remains as a unique position, a locus that centers the awareness and envisions architecture as a perceptual art. It’s an art of space; an art that builds and re-builds the identity based on both memory and embodied perception.
POSTER PDF: POSTER WORKSHOP H STILL VOIDS iulie 2015 big
PROJECT DESCRIPTION PDF : H-SPACE VOIDS project description 2015.02.19 PR
WORKSHOP THEME PDF : soon
participation Tax was reduce to 475 euros due to sponsorships
Workshop travelling dates: 16.07.2015 – 29.07.2015
Discipline(s): Architecture Theory, Architecture Critique, Visual Arts
Participant Profile: Undergraduate student (master integrated) & specialists in architecture or art studies.
Credit(s): the equivalent of 1 semester sketch
Language of instruction: Romanian
Language of final/ Published material: English
Organizor: (NGO) coordinator: Arch. Ana Maria Crisan, PhD
Key Parteners: Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) , “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of Holocaust (INSHR-EW)
Instructor: Ana Maria Crisan & Alexandru Crisan
Duration: 2 weeks travel + 2 weeks round tables (4 meetings)
Workshop traveling dates: 29.04.2015-10.05.2015
Workshop research/ discussion: 20.04.2015-25.05.2015
Exhibition: June 2015/ Romania; June – October 2015 – International itinerant exhibition
Thematic album/ domain: Architecture book: June-July 2015; language: English.
Selection: motivational letter & short description at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Touristic operator: Ro Team Tour*
Trail: BUCHAREST-Kosice- KRAKOW – AUSCHWITZ/BIRKENAU – TREBLINKA – WARSAW- SACHSENHAUSEN – PRAGUE – WIEN – BUDAPEST – BUCHAREST
Accomodation 11 nights: Kosice (1 night), Krakow (1 night), Warsaw (2 nights), Berlin (3 nights), Prague (2 nights), Vienna (1 night), Budapest (1 night). Hotels of 2-3 *, double and triple rooms. Details at: email@example.com
Participation tax to workshop: 550 euros* reduced to 475 euros (due to sponsorships) / 12 days/ 11 nights. (price calculated for a group of minimum 40 persons).
*The workshop fee (550euros) comprise all expenses for: ACCOMMODATION (11 nights, breakfast included) + TRAVEL + non formal OPEN DISCUSSION IN SITU + participation to SEMINARS in BUCHAREST, ROUND TABLES. The FEE (TAX) will be paid by the participants directly to the touristic operator – Ro Team Tour. The price does not include the visiting taxes (granting access to museums, memorials, etc.) and will be paid by the participants in situ. The entrance taxes to the museums can suffer further reductions due to sponsorships.
The workshop fee represents exclusively the travelling and the accommodation costs and will be paid by the participants directly to the touristic operator – Ro Team Tour. The price does not include the visiting taxes (granting access to museums, memorials, etc.), to be paid by the participants in situ. The instruction and research expenses are supported by the Key Partners as part of the H – Space Voids general cultural project.
Pre-subscription date: 22 March 2015, subscriptions till 1 march. Details & subscription at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Text & references: Arch. Ana Maria Crisan, PhD
Consultant: Cosmin Stanciu-Dinulescu
Objectives selection: Camp’ sites and Museums. Graphics © Ana Maria Crisan, Photography: see © credits (down right)
Statement of purpose:
The workshop addresses the subject of the Holocaust sites, museums and memorials from the perspective of the young generations. Focusing on the memory-identity nexus, on the one hand, and on students born circa half a century after the Holocaust, on the other, this educational endeavor uses fundamentals of the architectural studies as a de-contextual medium for the understanding of the historical trauma. What falls under scrutiny is the ability of architecture to translate memory and identity and, ultimately, to facilitate a dialogue between the subjectivity of a vicarious witness and the objectivity of a historical catastrophe.
Marking 70 years since the liberation of the largest and most notorious Nazi death-camp of the World War II, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the workshop proposes a journey to several sites embedded with the Holocaust History. The purpose is to underline the complementary aspects of memorials as they can be (architecturally) categorized: the ghettos, the labor camps, the extermination camps, and, finally, the thematic museums and sculptural representations. When studied in such a sequence, these sites help unravel the mechanics of the Holocaust and its aftermath. Moreover, they give a moral dimension to memory and a sense of purposeful hope for historical nonrecurrence.
Since the young generations are undoubtedly visually educated, such an approach, based on direct spatial experimentation, targets a more complex understanding that transcends simple historical and visual assimilations. It substitutes vicarious comprehension with vicarious witnessing. However, historical narrations rest heavily on compressed information, which highlights victories and defeats, exultations and traumas, events that bring coherence via sequentiality. But this breaks the bond between memory and identity: one does not empathize or identity him/herself with an encyclopedia entry. Is architecture an identity-forging mechanism of understanding, beyond mere recollection, classification and repetition?
Additionally, from the “space voids” mentioned by architect Daniel Libeskind, to “the atmospheres” of Peter Zumthor, the vast majority of contemporary architectural theories underline the invisible link between the architectural space and the perceptual understanding in terms of memory. Nevertheless, such theories are rooted on the concept of collective memory, the survival of which depends of ever-changing socio-political factors. If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, what is the worth of architecture, which encompasses thousands of images and re-structures them into functional coherence? And if we are to purify the idea of the transcendent value of architecture, what are the moral guidelines that nourish it?
Structure and Method:
Structured in three stages, the research begins with a (re)visitation of the historical references, followed by in situ perception, and ends with the analysis of the results and their re-projection in the form of an exhibition with a thematic publication. Both the exhibition and the thematic publication aim to be an international mirror of shared history and to showcase Holocaust perceptions at the beginning of the 21st century.
As the Holocaust sequencing is a trauma at an international level, the exhibition will emphasize on the continuous education of the young generations. In this sense, the perceptual spaces and the architectural atmospheres that are to be captured in essays and in visual materials will become an international exchange product, dedicated to a borderless Europe. Similar to the first stage of the workshop, the exhibition itself will begin its own journey, following the Holocaust vestiges, while mirroring and capturing the reactions of the young generations to a process that ended 70 years ago. Beyond remembrance, the goal is to underline that only through knowledge such a historic error can be avoided in the future.
Thus the reviving of the Jewish culture by (re)discovery, recollections and virtual projections becomes a purposeful dialog between the transitioned countries: Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary.
The workshop will comprise three stages: information, experimentation and analysis. Favoring the itinerant experimentation of different architectural expressions in a relatively short time (2 weeks), the workshop will attempt to develop short and long time perceptual / affective memories (as they will be attested by the travel journals of the students).
The educational process is structured accordingly in 4 steps: (re)discovery (of the Holocaust history), responding (to the in situ information), revision (of flawed understandings) and rebuilding (worldviews via the original work that will be submitted for evaluation).
Several more technical questions arise: Are the historical landmarks to be evaluated only in direct reference to a historical place and time? Can we talk about a perceptual architecture? Which are the architectural factors or elements that are inducing a specific perception? How do the light, the chromatic and the texture concur in producing “memory embedded” architecture?
Key words 1: architecture of remembrance, memory in architecture, memory of offence, spaces of memory, space of lost, void spaces, memory path.
Key words 2: Holocaust, ghetto, extermination camp, concentration camp, memorial.
Objectives selection: memorials and art works. Graphics © Ana Maria Crisan, Photography: see © credits (down right)
- 1 meeting: lecture and discussions on the general topic.
- thematic field-trip to the Holocaust sites, comprising: a selection of concentration and extermination CAMPS, GHETTOS, MUSEUMS, and MEMORIALS;
- Documentary film/ Feature film projections from the selected biography – on road documentation;
- Round table discussions at the Holocaust sites;
- Guided visits to the concentration and extermination camps: Auschwitz, Birkenau, Majdanek, Sachsenhausen.
- Visits to the remains of the Holocaust Ghettos in: Krakow, Warsaw, Berlin.
- Guided Visits to the main Holocaust Museums with insight documentation and cinematographic projections: Polish Museum Warsaw, Jewish Museum Berlin, Topography of Terror Documentation Centre – Berlin; (optional: Memorial Visitors Centre / Berlin Wall history, Tchoban Foundation Museum for Architectural Drawing (Berlin): exhibition: Alexander Brodsky. Works)
- Visits to the selected memorials: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe- Berlin, Gleis 17 Memorial – Berlin, Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, Budapest: Shoes on the Danube Bank (optional: Bebelplatz – site of the Burning of Books)
- Visits to the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe: Weissensee Cemetery – Berlin, Brodno Jewish Cemetery – Prague.
- Visits to complementary sites: German Reichstag, optional: Jewish Gallery – Berlin, Schindler’s Factory Museum
- Optional architecture objectives: Berlin: Neues Museum Berlin, Pergamonmuseum Berlin, Tchoban Foundation Museum for Architectural Drawing – exhibition: Alexander Bordsky. Works, Museum für Fotografie, Akademie der Künste, Berlin wall section, Memorial Visitors Centre (Berlin Wall history), Jewish Gallery, Weissensee Cemetery, “Stolpersteine” the ubiquitous memorial.
- 2 meetings for discussing the field-trip and the visual material. 1 thematic lecture & discussions on Daniel Libeskind, Peter Eisenman, Peter Zumthor, Juhani Pallasmaa THEORICal approach.
At the end of the workshop, the participants are required to submit:
- 1 essay on the subject of Architecture as a memory embedded reference medium
- 1 graphic work (in an optional technique) illustrating an architecture fragment or object with specific re-collected identity – non-existing, virtual projected.
- 20 photographic works (1 or 2 series)
- Optional: journal notes, small scale models of reference elements.
Selection: motivational letter & short description at email: email@example.com
An adjacent exhibition featuring selected materials from the workshop will be developed, followed by thematic publication. The workshop results, considered a part of the research project, will be the starting base for developing a thematic exhibition and publication in Album Format, an exhibition to be presented in Bucharest, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw and Vienna.
The additional exhibition and thematic publication will be developed in a smaller selected team.
(The exhibition date and place will be announced later.)
3D Model for Auschwitz Memorial Imperial War Museum, 2010. © Gerry Judah – firstname.lastname@example.org
texts: Ana Maria Crisan