Novka Cosovic: “The Museum”

This video was part of MArch student Novka Cosovic’s final thesis, “The Museum”, presented during the Winter 2013 Daniels Reviews, under the supervision of her advisor Professor Barry Sampson.

The video tours through multiple 1:50 scale architecture models of the various tunnels proposed in the thesis. It was created using an iPhone attached to a toy car. A mirror was placed on top of the iPhone and angled at 45 degrees towards the camera, making it possible to record a direct view of the tunnels. The sound effects come from various news broadcasts. For example, when entering the pool tunnel, you can hear a foreign language and water splashing, this was taken from a CNN documentary on the Syrian Civil War.

“When watching the news clips, we see hospitals overloaded with wounded victims, prisoners of war locked up in school bathrooms, or a soldier shooting a gun from a bedroom window. The news clips are mediating trauma and we are viewing the broadcasts from a safe distance. This is how trauma reaches us today.

If you look closer, all of the clips have a common denominator: the backgrounds. They consist of tiles, wallpaper, gymnasiums, bedrooms, hospitals, and so forth. They are domesticated-institutional-communal spaces that are perverted by war and violence. These are benign spaces that we also use in our everyday lives.

To ride the rail of the uncanny; an experience that “leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar” (Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny). Why remember the blowing curtains in someone’s bedroom or the green tiles in a pool or the mustard yellow walls in a hospital? It is because you cannot absorb the rest of the image; it is because those backgrounds remind you of your everyday environments.

Unlike a traditional museum where you are confronted with trauma of an event, this is an experience which you will realize the trauma over time after passing through the pathways over and over again.

This is not about commemorating victims of war; this is about bringing to mind the mediatisation of trauma in our current society, and how trauma has become a background subject in our daily lives.”

Read the full article about Novka’s thesis project at

For more information on the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, visit us at


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