Having showed work concerning my experience of Auschwitz-Birkenau, I began to think back to the work I started earlier in the semester which concerned another place; Oxford’s University Parks.
Although these places are – for obvious reasons – both very different, they are nevertheless open spaces in which people are remembered. In the case of Auschwitz-Birkenau it is the 1.1 million victims of Nazi Genocide who are remembered; in the case of the Parks, it’s a comparative scattering of people who knew and loved the place.
What I find interesting in these two places is the way in which the dead are remembered. In Auschwitz-Birkenau, it’s as if “the dead are still drilled“, still confined to Barracks, whereas in the Parks they sit on their benches and enjoy the place they loved while they were living.
I’ve also begun to wonder whether it is possible to describe one place in terms of another? Many in this city, will never get the chance to (or may not wish to) visit Auschwitz-Birkenau. So can I somehow describe its qualities – its scale, space, atmosphere – it terms of The Parks?