Muzeon is an innovative museum of Jewish history in Cluj, started from a personal search of the curators in their family past. It is an experience, not a traditional museum, based more on personal stories than on exhibition objects, each visitor going through the space with the help of a character who audio guides him. The visual concept supports the audio journey, transposing or intensifying a certain atmosphere and is very connected to the audio story.
Each space is visually independent for better support of the audio story, some spaces have realistic elements while others are much more abstract. If the first space is an introduction to the world of Jewish culture in Transylvania, by reproducing a simple interior from the early twentieth century; the next, the synagogue, is suggested by placing only two elements, a restored bench from the synagogue in Dej and a stained glass window with the Star of David. The interwar period is presented in the form of a black box that brings together various models, a miniature cinema that runs the films of one of the first Transylvanian directors, the Jewish hospital, buildings built by Jews or works by Jewish painters.
The space dedicated to anti-Semitism has some strong visual symbols, the visitor is put in the context of feeling exposed, pointed, marked in the chest with the yellow star. To suggest the important journey of the characters, a wagon interior was reproduced in which an installation of successive canvases with human silhouettes give the feeling of a crowded space, and then going through it to discover the visual illusion. In the Holocaust hall the three stories are separated and each has a different destination that is symbolically placed under a lamp. The 3 destinations are Auschwitz (suggested by the light cone made of brick plywood and the reproduction of a lamp and a piece of fence), the labor camp and Switzerland. The space dedicated to the time after the Holocaust talks about the survival of the three characters and the Jewish community in Cluj, it is a circular, concentrated and very bright space.
Lighting is an important element, which takes into account the state of the community, if at first everything is bright, the light gradually decreases towards the period of anti-Semitism, the wagon is almost in darkness, then each character’s path is put in a different light cone, then bright light comes again.
PROGRAM: interior design
SURFACE: 250 sqm
LOCATION: 3 Virgil Fulicea St. Cluj-Napoca, Romania
COLLABORATORS: Curator: Flavia Craioveanu; Technical Director: Dan Craioveanu; Graphics: Cătălina Nistor; VR Projects: 4D Pixel; Models: Istvan Matuz; Historical consultants: Zoltán Tibori-Szabó, József Luckács; Audio recorder: Boom Studio
PHOTO: Lieven Gouwy