The Soundscape Research Studio, Institute of Cultural Studies, University of Wroclaw
The soundscape of the Second World War Museum in Gdansk as an apparatus for remembering
The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk is one of Poland’s most modern and important narrative museums. The authors of the museum exhibition wanted to move away from the militaristic narrative about the Second World War and present it from the perspective of the civilian population. The exhibition was to emphasise the universality of the victims’ experience, show the war as a global conflict and draw attention to the situation of Poland and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Sounds play a significant role in the museum’s narrative. The sound layer of the exhibition can be analysed on several levels – the designed soundscape of the permanent exhibition space, the way witnesses’ voices are used, and archival film material available on multimedia desktops. I will limit my analysis to the first level. I treat the soundscape of the exhibition as a memory apparatus, whose components are sound mnemotopoi and icons referring to the memory of war experiences and recalling their well-known film representations. I will focus on the role of the exhibition’s sound layer in constructing visitors’ affective experience as well as the potential of sound to construct transnational and national memory.