The ambition of the proposal is to question the feeling of belonging of the viewer though the visual displacement of familiar images. The memorial acquires its form through the displacement and the combination of the reflected images of its immediate surroundings: the sky, the changing daylight, the buildings on the square and the visitors. It is constituted of a series of thin rectangular elements, mirror-clad on both sides.

The current configuration of the exhisting square is strongly characterized by the two ventilation towers. Their dramatic presence resembles the image of two fragments of an interrupted wall. The position and the overall dimension of the memorial have thus been chosen in order to enhance the monumentality of the existing elements. The present design of the square is embraced, becoming one whole with the proposed spatial structure in a single gesture.

When the memorial is observed facing approximately perpendicularly its longest side, the sculptural elements almost disappear. Their presence is dematerialized and the distinction between surroundings and reflected images dissolve.

The seemingly two-dimensional blades are organized in a linear array in which the reflective superficies face each other in parallel lines. All identical in size, they define narrow spaces of different proportions between them. The width of these passages varies from two meters to spaces that can barely and uncomfortably be passed through. The narrowest of these, that merely allow visitors to insert their heads to look into them, present mirrors tinted in different hues of red.

Approaching the square walking roughly parallel to the longest sides of the ventilation towers, the viewer perceives the whole artifact as an impenetrable wall.

Coming closer to the mirrors, the viewer sees several simultaneous images in which reality coexists with its displaced reflection. Advancing even further towards the gaps, one suddenly discovers a virtual depth in the two-dimensional elements.

 

The whole sequence reaches its climax when the visitor crosses any of the passages. Here the focus shifts from the surroundings to the observer that sees his reflection multiplied in a seemingly infinite space, fading into increasingly darker shades.

The spatial structure reveals its different aspects when seen from different angles and distances. It has a dynamic relationship between its two- and three-dimensionality that can be fully comprehended only by moving around it. Eventually the visitor becomes an active part of the memorial, experiencing an engaging yet unsettling feeling when passing through it. The involvement of the people in the work is instrumental to remind that memory, as much as tolerance and respect of the other, concerns everyone.

 

 

Displaced Belonging

 

Shoah Memorial

Competition entry

2015