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Location: Vienna, Austria
Year: 1995-1996
The memorial project challenges the premises of the two poles of Western thought, reason and expression. The site is inscribed through the interrelationships of specific historical maps that bear on this question. These maps engender a series of forms that question not only the ways in which history is remembered but also the meaning of the forms themselves.

The three elements of our proposal are deployed in three different, layered positions on the site. The first layer is three meters below grade. It consists of two different maps of Viennese ghettos (destroyed in 1421 and 1678), which are scaled to occupy the Judenplatz site. The second layer is three meters above grade and is a rescaled map of Germany and Austria following the Anschluss in 1938. The contours of the maps, which represent changing territorial boundaries and their consequences, are joined to rupture the ground of the Judenplatz, forever changing it and marking its new boundaries. This rupture is enclosed by a series of vertical steel plates. One enters this enclosure at ground level, the ground of the everyday, the ground of the ordinary, of the reasonable. Third, a series of lights inscribed into this ground follow a reduced plan of Auschwitz. This plan represents the extreme of reason, of rationality gone mad. The intersections of reason and expression and their results are inscribed in the ground-level surfaces inside the rupture.

It has been said that the Talmud, the spirit of Jewish culture and thought, provides a question for every answer rather than an answer for every question. The Talmud can be thought of as a catalog of debate. Instead of producing a memorial that embodies meaning, we propose a process whereby the meaning of the memorial questions the premises and conditions of the Holocaust and the means through which a cultural form may represent these conditions.



Model photos