Question

It is not unusual that war memorials don’t function as well as they are intended to. Often people just walk past them and ignore them. “Are war memorials to fallen heroes really ignored because people don’t want to honor the fallen? Or because they don’t want to think about the horrors of war?” Probably the last one right? So how do you inspire your audience to want to think of war? That’s the question of today.

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3 Responses to “Question”


  1. 1 Anders April 2, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Hi,

    I have often thought about that question myself – and those students I know working in the area (one on South Africa Freedom Park and one on various US sites) are dealing with the same questions.

    The very singular memorials with a ‘onedimensional’ message i.e. a exposure of a hero, may have en emotional clarity.

    Yet, it can become unchallenging or close the door to history/leave it in a frozen and settled form – and somehow the idea must also be to keep history and imagination open for reinterpretation. Art for the sake of some interesting thought/senseprovoking ambiguity?

    A monument or/and memorial practice may be a more complex cultural form that triggers something else?

    The idea of an ‘inclusive memorial’ is interesting. Not just in terms of audience participation and modification, but also in terms of message, audience, practices around it etc (for whom, how, why etc)

    Will it be too much if a German WW2 memorial commemorates both the German soldiers and the Jewish civilians and (other groups…?) Or can a memorial in South Africa related to both Blacks and Whites at the same time and so forth. How can one create forms where those who are born later can engage with it in an engaging and educative way in stead of just looking at some damn stone?
    (i.e. the Jochen Gerz one with all the notes is interesting – and so are many of the examples you’ve put on this site)

    We may see a reconciliative intention in the inclusive memorial, but it may become too diffuse or widely oriented in its scope and loose its power?

    Anyway. Enough for now.
    Anders

  2. 2 Sara F January 22, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I think the issue is not that people do not want to remember war that’s why the memorials go unnoticed it is because the memorial is usually commemorating the memory of a certain event or the death of a number of soldiers and people who are not concerned with the event or the soldiers tend to disregard the memorial, its not their memory its the memory of some other imposed in the middle of this space. take for example maya lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial she engraved the name of each dead soldier on the platform and every person related in some way to that specific soldier was able to go and feel the letter engraved in stone along with the water factor… i think to some degree that was successful but to those again who are related….
    another successful monument is the hamburg-harburg monument, where the people could actually interact with the monument for war, it is for no specific event its just a concrete structure and people were actually able to engrave their own memories and thoughts of war…
    i think memory is specific to each individual and if we were able to acknowledge this specificity in a memorial then we can achieve a communal memory. how to inspire them to think of war, well just write war at a blank piece of paper and hand to each person and let him/her give u their own perception.

  3. 3 Linda X. Pitts November 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Yes, that was a little tricky for me to do those shows close together. It wasn’t too hard to peak in September as I had 4 weeks in between. However, I tried to do the same for the Big Cat two weeks later in October, but my body was telling me enough is enough. I got to enjoy the show as a spectator instead. Hopefully, I can do that show next year. I encourage competitors to really pay close attention to themselves and if they aren’t able to show up even better don’t be afraid take a break.


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