Synagogues of Germany: a Virtual Reconstruction of the Past
Dr. Bruno Arich-Gerz en Dipl. Ing. Marc Grellert
Technische Universität Darmstadt
Sixty-two years after the 1938 'Kristallnacht', architects have re-constructed the synagogues of fourteen German cities on the computer in the Department CAD in Architecture at the Technical University of Darmstadt. At first sight a notice like this sounds like a bad spoof: the original synagogues have with some rare exceptions disappeared from German cityscapes. But far from being a manipulative distortion of the urban-cultural scene in Germany at the turn of the century, the statement has its referent in "real" reality: drawing on digital animation technology, members of the department of architecture at the Technical University of Darmstadt re-created the interior of synagogues. The reconstruction, which followed under the direction of Prof. Manfred Koob and Dipl. Ing. Marc Grellert, records the cultural loss and calls to mind the historical importance of the building, which were once part of the German urban landscape and German culture. In his accompanying analysis, Bruno Arich-Gerz will focus on the specific interrelatedness of the new media ecology and the issue of remembering in general and of (city-)sites of memory in particular. The analysis will take reference to two different "registers", present-day trauma theory and Jean Baudrillard's diagnosis of the Postmodern age. Virtual synagogues might on the one hand contribute to a successful collective working through; on the other, it is their very virtuality that preserves the concrete spots in the cities the status of "traumatic sites" (A. Assmann).
Since December 2002, Bruno Arich-Gerz has been teaching and researching as a junior professor at the Institute of Linguistics and Literary Studies of the Darmstadt Technical University. He graduated at the University of Cologne (English Studies, Spanish Philology, Theater-, Film- and Television Sciences) in 1993 and received his Ph.D. in 2000 at the University of Constance. Before he came to Darmstadt he worked as a doctor assistent at the University of Antwerp.
NOOT: De presentatie van het Darmstadt project "Synagogues of Germany: a Virtual Reconstruction of the Past" op donderdag 13 januari 2005 maakt deel uit van het avondprogramma tijdens de 'graduate conference' "Reconceptualizing Jewishness in Postwar Europe" die door het Instituut voor Joodse Studies wordt georganiseerd van 12 tot 14 januari 2005 aan de Universiteit Antwerpen (zie ook aankondiging op deze website). Deze avondlezing is vanzelfsprekend en net zoals de andere donderdagavondlezingen voor iedereen toegankelijk die belangstelling heeft.