Filling in the voids : Berlin's Memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe / Joel McKim.
This thesis takes Peter Eisenman's soon to be built Holocaust memorial as a focal point for considerations of contemporary memory practices that test the limits of representation. It begins by situating the memorial within the spatial and discursive landscape of contemporary Berlin, one that is dominated by the mythology of former chancellor Helmut Kohl. The intended function of Eisenman's monument is then questioned through an examination of its relation to several central figures of deconstruction and trauma theory, such as the chora, the uncanny, and the witness. This thesis ultimately argues that the Eisenman memorial problematically presents the Holocaust as a sanctified event that is beyond even partial comprehension. By positioning the traumatic events of the past as impenetrable voids that lie beyond the limits of representation, the monument assumes the ethical burden of remembering, rather than dispersing this ethical call amongst its audience. The emerging aesthetic tradition of the counter-monument is looked to for examples of self-critical contemporary memorials that initiate an active process of remembering within specific communities.
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