Hansen glucklich hall of names

pg 73 – A staging of Yad Vashems redemptive narrative that relies on architecture as well as on photography is the Hall of Names, a circular hall that appears at the end of  the Holocaust History Museum. The Hall of Names functions both as an archive, housing the pages of Testimony collection, and as a memorial to Jewish Holocaust victims. The Pages of Testimony project was begun in the mid-1950s and continues today to work toward collecting the names, short biographies, and photographs of all Jewish holocaust victims;currently, there are more than two million pages, and the hall of names possess enough space for six million. Yad vashem describes these pages and photographs as symbolic tombstones,and the project will be complete only when every Jewish victim has been remembered. The documentation of faces and names is an act of remembrance and therefore already a sacred ritual in Judaism. But the hall of names also reaches beyond its function as a repository of memory. In the centre of the Hall of names are two large cones, one extending downward through the mountain bedrock and ending in a base filled with water, and the other rising up over 32 feet toward the ceiling and skylight. Inside the upward-extending cone are some six hundred photos of Jewish holocaust victims

pg 99-100 – Their engagement in the ritual of remembrance imbues the photographs with a particular power- the power that Freeberg describes as “living presence.” Freedberg argues thatimages acquire their efficacy, their power to evoke the living presence of an absent person or deity, “only following some act of consecration or another,which invests the ‘mere’ materiality of the…image with powers not attributable to the material object itself.” With the phrase “living presence,” Freedberg refers to the power of certain images to promote the belief that “the bodies represented on or in them somehow have the status of living bodies”[freedberg,power of images, 32,12]. IN the context of hall of names and the names project, the power of living presence strengthens the ability of viewers to empathise and even identify with the victims.


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