The Differences in an Experience

by Francisco G. Zambrano

Fig.1 Main corridor

          On my independent travel, I was able to visit the Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind at night. Now I have heard that the best time to visit the museum is during the day when natural light comes through the slits in the building and it cast “light of hope” through out the inside of the museum. But I believe that the best time is actually at night.

            Now, I do admit that at night I was not able to experience many things that I could have seen during the day, but I feel that the lack of light actually aids the effect that Daniel was going after. For example, there are places throughout the building where there is only a room with a ceiling that is as tall as the rest of the building. So basically they are pits. During the day there is little light that comes through small openings at the very top, but at night they have very little to no light. In the first pit that I went into, I felt so lost and belittled because there was a lot of echo, which made me think it was a large space, but I could not see anything at all so I had no sense of placement or anything. I was seriously lost. If there were some light, I feel that my experience in that room would have been very different.

Fig.2 Pit with the metal faces
            The next “pit” that I walked into was another quite interesting experience. A small light next to the entrance dimly lit this “pit”. Many metal faces that clattered when you walked over them covered the ground, which because of the tall ceiling, echoed even louder. When I looked up I could barely see the ceiling. The dark, barely visible ceiling reinforced the feeling of a deep pit that had no escape from the painful clatter from below my feet. The faster I walked, the louder it got.

Fig.3 Garden of columns
            These two pits are not the only places that light would have hindered the experience. Even the exterior parts of the museum looked gloomier and creepier at night. When I entered one of the outdoor gardens that had white columns jutting out of the ground with trees and shrubbery at the top, I was afraid to walk into or around it because it was only lit from one side. The idea of walking into the columns and not knowing or being able to see what was on the other side just creeped me out. I then understood what the Jews felt like when they were freed from the concentration camps or even what they felt like during the time when they were being prosecuted. Not knowing who to trust or where to go. If the sun were out, then this feeling would not have existed.
Fig.4 Exterior of the Jewish Museum

            In many cases, lights and shadows are deemed important and are sought after. Yet after this experience, I feel that darkness has a part that is much more important than light. Because of these dark spaces, I was able to experience the museum at a much more intense level.

No comments:

Post a Comment