The jewish museum in Berlin is just a 15 min. march away from where I live. Part of the museum (conceived by Daniel Libeskind) is the holocaust tower, a void of intimidating hight with windowless blank walls, only a small slit just under the ceiling lets some light and sound in. The normality of the outside world can be heard but one is separated from it through the concrete walls. A feeling of isolation is induced on the visitor, the coldness and darkness of the empty space sends some shivers down the spine.
Some years ago I asked the museum’s staff if I could do a sound recording in the tower and they agreed. This is how it sounded inside at some lush summer evening with not too many visitors entering the building. I left the recording equipment inside the tower and waited outside to capture the “sound of emptiness” without me being present in the recording. Some museum guests enter the room occasionally, most of them didn’t stayed for a long time due to the uneasy atmosphere of the place. Finally you hear the steps of a visitor approaching the recorder who was attracted by the red and yellow LEDs in the dark. He ran into my microphone, put it back in place and left the tower immediately, passing me by with a somehow sorrowful expression on his face. I thought if I would have to desribe the German guilt complex towards the holocaust, it would have looked somehow like that.https://silentlistening.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/judisches-museum-exc.mp3″