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Symphony of a Missing Room


27 October — 11 November 2016
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berliner Festspiele / Immersion

Having been selected by the Concentration Camps Inspectorate, whose offices were within the 1905 extension, Niederkirchner was deported and died anonymously in Ravensbrück, just as she had arrived in Ravensbrück, the women’s concentration camp Heinrich Himmler originally envisioned.

Niederkirchner died on September 28, 1944, roughly 1.1 million seconds after she was born. 132,000 women passed through the gates of Ravensbrück, and when the Allies arrived in April, seventy-one years ago, 3,500 prisoners, more or less, began their lives as survivors. Much of the slave labor provided by the camp was sold to the German manufacturer Siemens & Halske. Käthe, whose crime was to have sympathized with the Communists before the war, only to become a member of the Communist Resistance against the Nazis, leaves one empathizing not only with her intrepidness, but wondering, why shouldn’t we momentarily join ranks with the spirit of those East German leaders who made their point with Niederkirchnerstraße?

What happens when historical events float free of their bibliographic and museum anchorings? Symphony of a Missing Room reflects on the museum as phenomenon, its tradition and its potential futures.

In the micro-universe of Symphony – individual past experiences persist over time akin to stars that, although dead lightyears ago, keep shining.

Extract from Narratives of passion against time by Ronald Jones
Read the full essay here:
"In our work bodily states, which are very different, become
almost like a musician's score.
" – Martina Seitl

Symphony of a Missing Room investigates the phenomenology of memory, activating the most diverse layers of meaning and forms of seeing – all simultaneously. Removed from the visible and tangible world by whiteout goggles and wireless headphones, the visitors move through the museum aided by a combination of audio instructions and touches by trained ‘guides’.

During the experience, we find ourselves freed from the physical limitations of time and space. Doing the unimaginable, you pass through walls, and down tunnels traveling through a network of past exhibitions and the museums that originally hosted Symphony of a Missing Room. Our perceptions are the single medium of the work: a closed system in which reality fundamentally originates from the perceiver as a form of projection.

Existing in parallel with the architecture and history of the host museum, Symphony of a Missing Room is something like a time machine, reminiscent of the Antikythera Mechanism – a 2000-year old machine that like Symphony of a Missing Room has absorbed its own past incarnations. And so the series of works develops a unique capacity to reflect back on itself, even capturing an inward gaze on itself – indeed a memory archive.

The first inception of Symphony of a Missing Room was produced by Weld in 2009. 
Copyright © 2016 Lundahl & Seitl, All rights reserved.

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