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Accepted Paper:

Making the feelings concrete: the rule of experience at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin  
Irit Dekel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Paper long abstract:

At the Holocaust memorial in Berlin one can often hear guides call to express feelings regarding its abstract, "non-authentic" form above ground and the detailed information center underground. This call to deal with the site by way of touring and reflecting on one's tour will be analyzed as the rule of experience in the site and in memorial museums at large. The opposition of knowledge (acquired underground) and feeling (above ground) does not pertain to a certain history but to the experience of visiting and revisiting its memory.

The rule of experience is a condition for entry to the site. Through this form of engagement, a new performative space is created, where one should present, document and discuss their feelings and thoughts, which the memorial provokes. It is an individual capacity that is facilitated by the presentation of individual stories (of victims and visitors), invoked and performed in public.

Panel W071
Experience, witnessing, spectacle: performance and commemoration in the new museum
  Session 1