Wonder of the Ruin
Aesthetics of the Derelict Synagogue in Poland
Keywords:synagogues, garden ruin, aesthetics, decay, enchantment, ruins
The aesthetics of the abandoned synagogues are dynamic and interactive, being inextricably attached to how we encounter and sense their reality and materiality. This kind of affective and mercurial aesthetic experience of Poland’s deserted synagogues is being formed and transformed during our immediate encounters with material spaces and things. I argue that a re-enchantment of the synagogue takes place in the ruin, wherein non-human actors and activities (plants, animals, the weather, and so on) generate its wonderment, strangeness, and revived sacrality. I call this new form of the derelict synagogue a ruin temple – a space whose deeply flowing past and dynamism of decay and life create a present that allures and enchants, affording a mystical and sensuous immersion in its solitary realm of awe and wonder.
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