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Blogspot | 19Oct2012 | blackrod
What you are going to see inside
the CMHR. "Look on...and despair."
this year, the New York designer of the museum's exhibits, Ralph
Appelbaum, came to Winnipeg to give 200 donors to the CMHR a
super-sneak preview of the "interior wonders" they can expect
to see when they visit.
The museum's fundraising arm, the Friends of the CMHR, took detailed
notes and reported Appelbaum's "thrilling" lecture in the group's
Summer, 2012, newsletter
Given the importance of knowing
exactly what we're spending $351 million (and counting) on, we decided
to scalp the Friends' account (with the really boring bits scissored
Barf bags at the ready, here we go...
"Appelbaum began his thrilling
virtual tour of the Museum’s interior at the building entrance between
two of the structure’s massive “roots”. The roots represent the earth
as the common home of all people and the beginning of our journey from
darkness to light, from despair to hope."
"Visitors enter ‘Buhler
Hall’, a vast welcome and gathering space. High-contrast
ambient projections against an earthen red wall welcome visitors in
different languages. Part of the ceiling opens up into the
heart of the Museum and offers a dazzling view of people crossing one
of the ramps high above."
Like a scene from one of Cecil B.
DeMille's biblical epics, or a trip back in time to the day of the
Pharoahs, it will leave visitors wondering "how much did we spend on
this?" and "Gosh, what we could have done with that money..."
Women's shelters beg for funding, the homeless beg for lodgings, the
poorest are beggared by food costs, scientific studies are killed under
the rubric of austerity, but governments of all stripes didn't stint on
this fantastical monument to one man. It's Shelley's immortal
poem Ozymandias brought to life.
But, let's continue the tour with the Friends..
visitors follow a hallway into the ‘Introduction to Human
Rights’ gallery. The exhibits here immerse people in “the
range of diversity of the human rights story,” Visitors
traveling through the gallery will encounter a powerful soundscape and
dramatic floor-to-ceiling panoramic film, from which objects
significant to the story will appear to emerge “almost magically”.
A human rights timeline will help visitors -- especially students and
teachers -- “find exactly where their story begins” in the global and
"At the far end of the ‘Introduction’ gallery stands a
basket-shaped theatre. Inside the theatre, a
360-degree film screen tells the story of Canada’s
Indigenous peoples -- and presents Indigenous concepts of humanity’s
rights and responsibilities. Visitors will “hear stories about
community and co-existence, respect and modes of government... It
serves as the prologue to the great story we are about to tell.”
"That great story is ‘Canada’s Human Rights Journey’, which
occupies the Museum’s largest space. (It) begins with films
that explore Canada’s human rights struggles and successes. The open,
two-storey gallery features multi-layered, dynamic presentations of
Canada’s human rights advances and setbacks, as well as our nation’s
development of human rights laws and institutions. An
interactive floor game will engage visitors of all ages in
discovering how individual actions have an effect on others. An
enormous canvas will provide a backdrop for digital projections,
and three stages hidden in the wall will open to
reveal performances by actors portraying figures and scenes from
Canada’s human rights journey."
"The gallery also features storytelling alcoves:
mini exhibits that bring to life the stories and experiences of
Canada’s human rights pioneers and champions. Appelbaum says many of
these heroes are relatively unknown. “This is a gallery devoted to
remembering their names.” Visitors can even leave their own names and
human rights stories behind in a recording booth,
and watch recordings left behind by previous visitors."
(Are we bad people
for wondering who will leave the first sex tape?)
Challenge’, the next gallery, sheds light on the unique
character of Canada’s legal system and the traditions that have
influenced it. An animated ‘Living Tree’ will blend
words and images to evoke the flexible nature of Canada’s laws. Artifacts
and documents will be displayed here, including the Canadian
Bill of Rights and the Canadian Human Rights Act. Visitors can gather
at a ring-shaped ‘Debate Table’ to participate in facilitated
discussions. The table is enhanced with digital
interfaces and overhead monitors that provide context and
invite visitors to vote on specific human rights cases and situations."
the CMHR, visitors reach the ‘Examining the Holocaust’
gallery, which explores the most thoroughly researched
genocide in history. Here, visitors gain powerful perspective
from real-life stories and view footage in a theatre
resembling a shell of broken glass. A freestanding showcase
will present real artifacts associated with the
Holocaust along with the stories behind them. An interactive
exhibit will deepen our understanding of Raphael Lemkin’s
techniques of genocide"
“The walls are etched with images of genocide so we can
better understand what genocide is....” Visitors will “see
the world’s response to those tragic events through giant scrapbooks
whose pages turn with a wave of your hand."
"The next gallery, ‘Hope and Hard Work’, presents
and explains the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Here, visitors
will use large interactive monitors to explore how
the Declaration applies to real-world situations. Another exhibit will
focus on John Humphreys, the Canadian who played a lead role in
drafting the Declaration. Panels with images and texts will highlight
some of the many other human rights instruments that followed the
Declaration, and an animated overhead projection will depict the
Declaration’s thirty clauses."
Silence’ follows -- a quiet, respectful place where visitors
can learn more about the five genocides recognized by Canadian
Parliament -- the Armenian genocide, the Holodomor, the Holocaust,
Rwanda, and Srebrenica."
"From ‘Breaking the
Silence’, visitors will enter ‘The Forum’. ‘The
Forum’ is a positive space meant to inspire hope in our visitors
after several challenging galleries focused on historic
violations, mass atrocities, genocide and crimes against humanity."
"...a network of translucent alabaster ramps will convey Museum
visitors upwards into a modern-day view of human rights. ‘Human
Rights Today’ features a spectacular world map that Appelbaum
says “would make (CNN anchor) Wolf Blitzer jealous.” Visitors can
interact with the map to find out what’s happening in human rights
anywhere in the world in real time. The gallery will also lead visitors
through exhibits that demonstrate how the media shapes perceptions of
human rights abuses, and to an interactive “tapestry”
of some of the people who defend human rights in their work every day."
"The final gallery, ‘Take Action’, invites visitors
to make an active commitment to protecting human rights. Here, Museum facilitators
will answer questions, engage visitors in discussions, and help
visitors discover what actions they can take to promote the
rights of everyone."
" The Museum experience culminates in a visit to the ‘Tower of Hope’,
accessible via glass elevator or circular staircase. The Tower offers a
magnificent view of Winnipeg and will house the story of the recipient
of a newly-created human rights award. Here visitors can
share their thoughts and receive a memento to remind them of their
personal journey at the Museum."
"...no two visitors will
share the same Museum experience, no one visitor will experience the
Museum the same way twice. Exhibits will change constantly..."
The stated purpose of this
architectural monstrosity is to indoctrinate Canada's youth into a
designated world view.
The most stomach-turning example of how successful they have been is
also in the Summer, 2012 issue of the Friends of the Canadian Museum
for Human Rights newsletter.
There, on Page 10, is a picture of a smiling Gail Asper standing next
to a little boy who is honoured as a "Human Rights Champion."
The story reads:
“I asked my friends who
were invited to my birthday party to donate to the Museum instead of
getting birthday presents because I have had lots of birthdays with
presents, and I already have lots of toys. So I decided to donate to
the Museum because it needs the money more than I need more toys. I was
proud to give the money that I raised to the Museum so that my friends
and I can visit there some day. And my family still gave me some
presents,” (he) says.
millionaire Gail Asper, the sister of two multi-millionaires, is taking
money from a little boy because the cost of a monument to her
billionaire father is wildly out of control.
"I already have lots of toys," said the birthday boy.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'