DANIEL LIBESKIND'S ARCHITECTURE OF MEMORY
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In his design of a Jewish Department of the extended Berlin Museum, Daniel Libeskind made an attempt to develop a new architecture of memory. Even though the project, eventually called the Jewish Museum in Berlin, was not devoted only to Holocaust, but was primarily meant to house the collections concerning the whole history of the Berlin Jews, it was Holocaust which eventually determined both the architect's point of view, and the whole design. Referring to Jacques Derrida's idea of trace, Libeskind deconstructed the prevalent models of memory and the architecture which they implied. A key feature of a new form of memory, embodied by the museum, is a new kind of space invented by the architect, which he calls 'void'. 'Void' both reveals the conditions of the possibilities of architectonic space, and materializes the emptiness characteristic of the post-Holocaust culture. Libeskind's radical design reaches beyond Derrida's deconstruction, engaging it in a polemic. Inasmuch as in Derrida's philosophy the questioning of presence as the foundation of Western culture is related to the immanent development of writing - the history of the exteriorization of trace, Libeskind clearly points to Holocaust as a specific event which subverted the whole Western metaphysics of presence, introducing emptiness and absence as crucial and permanent stigmas of the whole Western culture.
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