Arts & Life
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This article was published 26/11/2010 (3621 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ENTRY: BUHLER HALL
Two principal entrances: a group and main entrance. Both bring visitors directly to Buhler Hall, a circular concrete and stone hall with a basalt plug ceiling that is considered one of the most striking architectural features of the building. On one wall there is a welcome from the aboriginal groups that have claims on the territory on which the museum is built. On a facing concrete wall, there will be images of "individual and collective humanity" projected on the wall. This projection allows the space to be rented out for social events.
The Buhler Hall connects visitors to other space contained within the four roots of the museum foundation.
Root A - Classrooms for visiting school and social groups.
Root B - 300-seat auditorium, designed by Antoine Predock.
Root C - 6,000 sf of temporary exhibit space for traveling/special exhibits.
Root D - retail and restaurant.
Two ramps that wind around the Buhler Hall take visitors up to and back down from the exhibit/content space. On the ascending ramp, which goes 360 degrees around the Hall, images will be projected on the wall, along with soundscapes that vary by section of the ramp. The images and sounds will re-enforce the idea of shared humanity.
Introduction to Human Rights Zone
A wedged shape gallery with a steeply sloping roof that goes from three metres at one end to more than 10 metres at the other. As the title suggests, this zone will introduce visitors to broad definitions of human rights from all cultural perspectives. Emphasis will be on various human rights concepts, history, struggles and successes.
The Human Rights Timeline: Along one wall, a mixed media installation involving digital media, graphics, transparent scrim screens and artifacts will mark the important dates in the evolution of the history of human rights. The earliest concept s of human rights will be traced back to 4000 BCE and the Hindu traditions of non-harm to self, other beings and the earth. Three touch screens allow visitors to interact with the installation and control some of the content being displayed.
Multimedia Object Theatre: Described as an "immersive multimedia experience," this theatre will use lights, objects, sound scape, live theatre and image projection to expose visitors to the wide spectrum of human rights images. The walls of the theatre will be theatrical scrim, a wall made of woven material that can be used as a screen for projected images. However, when lit brightly in one spot, objects or people can be revealed behind the screen. Or, when lit brightly, it becomes translucent, revealing objects or people behind.
Indigenous People and Human Rights
An examination of human rights through the cultures and traditions of Canada's aboriginal peoples. This zone will explain that aboriginal cultures had their own distinct approach to human rights that, in some ways, was far advanced from other cultures. It will also acknowledge that western museums have, for too long, been dominated by a non-aboriginal view of aboriginal culture.
The Basket Theatre: Aboriginal artists and elders, asked to find a common metaphorical image or shape for a theatre, recommended the designers to create something that evoked a basket, an artifact common to many aboriginal cultures. This circular, multimedia theatre that will feature live and recorded/projected shows. Its shape allows for a 360 degree video experience. The theatre is flanked by walls devoted to other content - artifacts, touch screens, graphics.
Sacred Terrace: The only area in the museum where there is a window and access to outside. Changes were made to the original design to create an outdoor terrace so that visitors could, if they chose, go outside to hold smudging ceremonies. The terrace will also feature four different kinds of indigenous sacred plants.
The Canadian Human Rights Journey (Unfinished Business)
The largest zone in the museum, this is an interactive digital environment whose main feature is a 30-seat theatre that can be used for theatre, film or speaking engagements. The content of this zone will constantly be changing but some of the stories/themes to be examined include the residential school experience, Japanese-Canadian internment, the Chinese Head Tax, same-sex marriage, disability rights, the vote in Canada; missing and murdered aboriginal women. In all, more than 50 stories of Canadian human rights tragedies and triumphs will be featured in the inaugural content. A special emphasis will be placed on the first-hand accounts of Canadians who have lived through human rights violations. This will be done through audio and video scapes. Some interactive features will allow visitors to dig deeper into the stories by accessing archival material about the events and issues raised in the stories.
Interactive Game Centre: In the centre of this hall, there will be an where the floor itself will function as a game console. The game and content are still in development.
Alcoves: 18 alcoves around the perimeter of this zone (8' x 8') will each feature a different type of content ranging from art installations, artifacts, touch screens/video screens, and a video recording station so people can leave their stories with the museum.
Insight Stations: Interactive terminals where visitors can investigate further content and actually determine which images and stories get told on screens above the alcoves.
Kitchen Table: An actual kitchen table with chairs around it, to be used for people to sit and discuss the museum content. Evokes the symbolic importance of the kitchen table in everyone's home, where many lessons are imparted and important conversations take place.
The Canadian Challenge
This zone explores rights and freedoms of Canadians, as well as the limitations we have placed on them. On one wall, an object case that will feature various documents and other artifacts that show how Canada has attempted to address its own human rights challenges. Another wall will feature graphics and interactive "insight stations." Also an interactive gaming space that can accommodate up to 12 people at once; game still under construction, but it will likely allow interaction between the real visitors and virtual visitors to the museum's web site.
This zone will acknowledge the seminal importance the Holocaust played in the creation of transnational human rights laws and principles. Although it is not intended as a memorial to the victims, visitors will be immersed in evocative images and soundscapes that communicate the gravity of the atrocity. Content will also examine the role of countries like Canada in failing to address the atrocity even when word of it leaked from Germany. The exhibit will also examine the Holocaust in three distinct stage:
1933-39: the erosion of human rights
1939-45: the destruction of human rights
1945-48: the restoration of human rights.
The Crystal Theatre: A wedge-shaped multimedia space with walls created by jagged panels of tempered glass designed to evoke the images of Nazi's breaking windows of Jewish businesses and homes during the pogroms. The theatre will show a documentary film on the rise of anti-Semitism, along with profiles of the heroes, the villains and the bystanders.
Raphael Lemkin: The zone will include a special memorial about Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer of Jewish descent who first used and defined the word "genocide." This media piece will examine the origins of the concept, and the evolving legal debate over what qualifies as a genocide.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Mass Atrocities
Leaving the Holocaust exhibits, visitors will enter a zone has been divided into two main sections, to represent light and dark aspects of the human rights debate.
The UDHR exhibit: Four projectors will fill the walls with images, while a series of interactive terminals allow visitors to drill deeper into the codification of human rights laws and celebrating the various declarations, institutions and conventions that have followed the UDHR, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Criminal Court, the European Union Human Rights Council, the International Court of Justice. A multimedia theatre sits at one end, suitable for documentary films, lectures or theatrical performances.
The Mass Atrocities exhibit: The wall separating the two zones will be the "Recognition Wall" where mixed media will be used to show how human rights violations continue today. Central feature is a virtual archive of atrocities accessed through an interactive touch-screen study table. Visitors can call up information on 50 different incidents or events. Two study carols allow for people who may be more affected by the content to find a bit more privacy. "Imagine that you're a victim of the Rwandan genocide and you're seeing all this stuff for the first time.
Human Rights Forum: A smaller space with interactive content focusing on peace building efforts around the world. A modular multimedia wall that fits together like Lego blocks will be used to display artifacts, graphics or audio/visual content. The wall can be reconfigured in a variety of shapes and sizes to allow for a constant turnover in content.
Human Rights Today
In this zone, the museum will use content from international news media to show current human rights struggles. On one wall, images of current television reports of events happening right now; highlighting stories from around the world.
The Human Rights Map: A giant map of the world with interactive stations where visitors can delve into issues from a thematic or geographic perspective. Visitors can query human rights records of different countries. The results of these queries will be projected on three large mixed media walls screens.
Photojournalism and Human Rights: This zone features a theatre for displays of photojournalism and documentary films from around the world on human rights conflicts and issues.
The Hall of Commitment
The final exhibit in the museum will encourage visitors to take action on human rights. If visitors have been inspired or angered about what they have seen, they can get information about organizations that are active in the human rights field and how they can get involved. Visitors may also be given an opportunity to leave a human rights pledge with the museum.
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