One of Britain’s most iconic Jewish cemeteries is welcoming visitors with a new and immersive audio art commission incorporating snippets of memories from relatives.
The chair that was good the handstands, the bicycle that was never ridden and the bullets that missed are all woven into the experience at Willesden Jewish Cemetery as part of London Borough of Culture’s Brent Biennial.
Over 25 minutes visitors wandering the 21 acres on a crisp winter’s day hear from those with memories of the people buried there, as well as from the cemetery foreman, who lives on-site. Organisers described it as “an ideal Tier 2 activity”.
The initiative is called ‘Invisible City’ and was named after Italo Calvini’s novel ‘Invisible Cities’, which explores imagination and the imaginable through the descriptions of cities by explorer Marco Polo.
Hester Abrams, House of Life project leader at Willesden Jewish Cemetery, said the initiative “adds a welcome layer of love and felt experience to the cemetery’s physical landscape,” adding: “Everyone can relate to its themes.”
Willesden is the only Jewish cemetery on England’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, and is the final resting place of scientist Rosalind Franklin, jeweller Harriet Samuel, and zoologist Lord Walter Rothschild.
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