FOOTSTEPS IN THE WIND: Krakow, Kazimierz, Auschwitz

(A Soundscape of Holy Grounds and Death Factories) [ 8:1 ]




- EMS Concert series 2007, London

- Tate Modern, London:

[ Art, Lifestyle and Globalisation, symposium organised by PVA MediaLab 

Curated by M. Leadley for Tate Modern ]

- Large Scale Immersive Audio Experiment (Duran Audio / Illustrious), London

 - (Un)sound Experiments, The Shunt Vault, London


C.C.P. AWARD 2006

  Gross Rosen, 2005

A soundscape of holly grounds and death factories
(Krakow, Kazimierz, Auschwitz)

14'55'' (5:1 Surround

- Ofiar Holocaustu (Young boys spitting on the monument): 0’29’’
- Rynek Glówny (Bell & Heyna_): 3’16’’
- Kazimierz: 2’07’’
- Schindler Factory: 5’33’’
- Auschwitz (A noisy bus-park; crematorium): 4’51’'

This piece explores the soundscape of different strategic locations in the south of Poland, places imbued with memories from the Holocaust; searching for traces. Before the Second World War, the Jewish population of Poland was 3.5 million, today there are between 3,000 and 4,000 left. The opening is a short field recording made on the site of the “Ofiar Holocaustu” in Kazimierz in January 2007. On that quiet day, two young boys sat on the monument and started spitting on the stone as a provocation. It is followed by the Heynal, the war trumpet, played every hour in Krakow.

The piece is constructed upon the emotional and physical journey from Krakow's main square to Auschwitz passing by Kazimierz (former Jewish ghetto), O. Schindler's factory and Gross Rosen. It is a desperate search for the remains, the soundmarks of pre-war Europe and also a reflection on how the sounding environment may convey both the fascinating quality and the outrageous character of particular places. The main square of Krakow still bears the beauty of centuries old sounds mixed with modern life. Auschwitz has become a touristic nightmare, a “theme park” where an armada of buses and hot dog vans roar horridly while visitors queue up to have their picture taken in front of the crematorium and the infamous gates!

The piece is dedicated to poet Robert Desnos. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944, deported to Auschwitz and died after being transferred to the Flöha Kommando, two weeks later.


 Research Abstract:

The touristic noise of Muzeum AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

                               Soundscape, tourism, phono-thanatophillia, sonic remains, Holocaust, memory.

This series of soundscape compositions explores themes related to the paradoxical tension between the beneficial and nefast effects of the touristic industry on different sites of pilgrimage, memory and trauma; as well as on local communities and tourists themselves. Drawing inspiration from the contrasting works of Primo Levi, Annette Wieviorka, Didi Huberman, Victor Klemperer, Paul Gilroy, Philip R. Stone and Richard Sharpley amongst others, this research explores the implications of thanatourism on that unique and loaded site where Jews were mass-murdered during WWII.

It has since become a major touristic attraction as well as a powerful symbol of European identity. This case study will help to address and challenge issues of site preservation1, historical and social alienation, as well as the manipulation and representation of the “past” and its traces. In particular, the author will examine the notions of thanatourism and phono-thanatophillia in relation to the historical remains of post-war Europe and the Holocaust.
With the rise of dark-tourism as an industry, we are led to believe that “memory” is better preserved and more accessible – it is there for our eyes to see.

Will the aural rather than the visual experience of these sites reveal something different? 



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