Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

The Museum of Voids

Buy Chapter:

$22.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

This contribution is about a journey in which you and I, the travellers, who could both act as spectator and performer, are asked to reenact the apocalyptic scenario of twentieth-century European history. The lens through which we will be looking at this apocalypse is sprung by the dialectical juxtapositions produced by the intertextual referencing of various twentieth-century Central European literary, artistic, musical and philosophical texts. The spaces within which we will be travelling are those of the recently inaugurated Jewish Museum in Berlin. The time, the now point, the twenty-first century, already wounded at birth, is my palimpsest within which I will search for my archaeological sources.

The beginning is in the aftermath of a number of questions. Why a Jewish Museum in Berlin? In what way is the building intertextual? Whose is the void in the Museum? What is the link between the Jewish Museum and the hypothesis of a performance of nature? What can there be that is performative in a building? In what sense is the Jewish Museum ‘ecological’? Why must ecology embrace what is no longer ‘there’?

Built by the Polish-born Jewish architect Daniel Libeskind, the Berliner Jewish Museum reflects Libeskind's belief that the Jewish history of Berlin is not separable from the history of modernity, and that a Jewish Museum built in Berlin could not be designed outside of the historical and emotional parameters of the Holocaust (Libeskind 1992). The product of these beliefs is an extraordinary building which not only synthesises ‘natural’ environments with cultural landscapes but also incorporates memory and mourning into its (our) oikos (house).

The project was originally presented to the Berliner Senate on music paper. Before becoming an architect, Libeskind was in fact a musician and in many ways the construction of the building echoes that of a musical composition. The Museum consists of one addition, two buildings, three visible forms, four separate structures, five voids, six voided sections, seven buildings in the oblique, eight underground passages, nine void walls, ten connections, eleven original lines, twelve tones, twenty-three angels, twenty-four walls, twenty-five elevations, thirty-nine bridges, eighty-one doors, three hundred and sixty-five windows (ibid.). The building is composed by a symphony of symmetries and oppositions: its players, us, the viewers, sail through its corridors like notes on a complex postmodern stave. Within it, we are continuously driven to the unexpected only to find that what is in fact exhibited is perhaps what we knew already.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more