Minimalist Aesthetics and the Imagined and Inhabited Interiority of Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Authors

  • Russell Rodrigo University of New South Wales

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.37113/ideaj.v0i0.92

Keywords:

Public, Memorials, Interiority

Abstract

Since the dedication of Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982, minimalist design strategies have transformed the way in which public memorials, particularly those that deal with problematic pasts, have been conceived, constructed, managed and understood. Contemporary approaches stress the affective potential of memorial space, where physical and emotional engagement is as significant as symbolic and material form. This embodied and affective focus to memory-making is ultimately an expression of interiority, the social construction of the interior through embodied experience.

This paper examines the imagined and inhabited interiority of Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in the context of the effectiveness of the communicative aspects of minimalist design strategies employed in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as described in Jeffrey Karl Ochsner’s theory of ‘linking objects’. Intended meanings for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe as a place of remembrance, it is argued, are negated ultimately by the lack of signification within its design, the absence of ‘linking objects’. In contrast to the imagined interiority of the memorial, the inhabited interiority of the memorial it is argued, is predominantly one of play and performance rather than one of reflection and understanding.

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Author Biography

Russell Rodrigo, University of New South Wales

Russell Rodrigo is a Senior Lecturer in Design Studio at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Russell’s research focuses on the architecture of memory and place and its relationship with interiority at the scale of both the private and the public. He has published through international journals and conferences and his research has been recognised nationally, including the awarding of the British Council’s Design Research Award in 2009 and a Visiting Fellowship at the Humanities Research Centre, University of Canberra in 2013. Russell is the designer of a number of memorial projects including the NSW Police Memorial and Gay and Lesbian Memorial in Sydney and has recently completed a research-through-design PhD focussing on the spatialisation of memor y.

Published

2012-07-05

How to Cite

Rodrigo, Russell. 2012. “Minimalist Aesthetics and the Imagined and Inhabited Interiority of Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe”. Idea Journal 12 (1):46-59. https://doi.org/10.37113/ideaj.v0i0.92.

Issue

Section

Design Research Paper