The MUHBA offers birds to the survivors of Nazi concentration camps

27/01/2017 10:29 h

Marc Gómez Silvestre

Up until 28 April, the audio-visual installation ‘Je vous offre les oiseaux / Us ofereixo els ocells’, by Marta Marín-Dòmine, can be seen in the Santa Àgata chapel at the Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA). The display is one of the acts to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and invites the public to reflect on how a person’s perception changes in a situation of extreme violence.

The exhibition takes the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp as its reference, highlighting the distortion which occurs in a situation of extreme violence. It contrasts the perception of concentration camp survivors, who never saw any birds flying over the area, with a study which catalogued the presence of as many as 127 different species of birds in that same area.

Part of the display is interactive, registering the sounds of visitors up until the final day of the exhibition. It has been organised by Ricard Vinyes, Commissioner for Memory Programmes, and is intended to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January. During the presentation, Vinyes explained: “We want this installation to be a city act. And it has two sides to it: on one hand it evokes ethical reflection, and on the other it’s a tribute from all citizens to that song of the birds of Auschwitz, which everyone can participate in”.

The activities proposed by the display include a conference, with the author Marta Marín-Dòmine explaining how she translated the tensions between memory and landscape, taking the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp as a reference and using the projection of images and spaces with screens and speakers where the public can interact.

The installation, besides its symbolic background, also aims to show that any act of remembrance falls short of recapturing the event as it was experienced, by both victims and torturers. Because of this, the elements making up the installation, starting with its bilingual title, highlight the difficulties implied in the act of commemoration.


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