Archive for the 'Wars' Category

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony


An inspiring ceremony is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony. It is held in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and one of the objectives is to console the victims of the atomic bomb. The 6th of August every year, thousands gather to pray for the realization of a lasting world peace. The ceremony is 45 minutes long and contains, amongst other things, silent prayer, bell ringing (at 8:15, the time the bomb was dropped), peace declaration, 1000 doves being released, commitment to peace (by child representatives), and the Hiroshima Peace song (sung by a choir with approximately 500 members).


Touched Echo


How about this interaction? Touched Echo is a installation for the balustrade on the “Bruehlsche Terrasse” in Dresden. From it you have a view of “Neustadt” which was almost completely destroyed in World War II. By placing their hands over their ears while leaning against the balustrade, vistors will hear bombers flying over their head and explosions of the bombs. The echo of the past (the sound) is transmitted via the forearm to your skull bone, where it enters the inner ear). Interesting.


Mashed Bagdad Potatoes

There’s just so many ways to play with maps… Three projects I found today work with mashing maps of different cities together, and through that emphazise differences between the places.

youarenothere.jpgBagdad can be toured in Brooklyn in the piece You Are Not Here. By putting the two cities maps on top of eachother, the artists could decide where to put site specific information from the streets of Bagdad on the correlating places in Brooklyn, in form of stickers with access codes and telephone numbers to “the Tourist Hotline”. The information recieved could for instance contain ‘the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein and how this might have been a stage event as most of the spectators of it were American soldiers and journalists’. The time it takes to walk all over town, in addition to the information with a different perspective then we get from TV news, can give room for discussion and contemplation.


Next project is called
Bagdad><San Fransisco. Here it’s more about what San Fransisco would look like if they got the same bombs that Bagdad recieved. Would your home be bombed?

cherry.jpgThe last project I found working with entangled city maps is called Cherry Blossoms, and was actually inspired by Bagdad<>San Fransisco. Creator Alyssa Wright brings the bombs of Bagdad back home to the US in her own way; She let’s you put on a backpack filled with confetti and sends you on walk through the streets of Boston. Your backpack can, and will, blow up at any moment. It works like this:

‘Cherry Blossoms is a backpack that uses a small microcontroller and a GPS unit. Recent news of bombings in Iraq are downloaded to the unit every night, and their relative location to the center of the city are superimposed on a map of Boston. If the wearer walks in a space in Boston that’s correlated to a site of violence in Baghdad, the backpack detonates, releasing a compressed air cloud of confetti, looking for all the world like smoke and shrapnel. Each piece of confetti has the name of a civilian who died in a war based on lies.’

I would just love to have a backpack like that…. Here’s another link explaining the project.


Children’s stories

Krig är det sorgligaste ord som kommer över mina
darrande läppar. Det är som en ond fågel som aldrig
vilar sig. Det är en dödande fågel som förstör våra hem
och tar vår barndom ifrån oss. Krig är den ondaste av
fåglar, som förvandlar gatorna till floder av blod och
hela världen till ett inferno.
                                                        Maida, 12, från Skopje


Jag minns att jag gick hem under ett flyglarm. När jag
kom in i hallen var alla dörrar stängda. Det var mörkt
och jag rörde mig försiktigt och öppnade dörren till
sovrummet. Plötsligt lyste solen på mig.
Genast försvann all sorg och rädsla. Men medan jag
gladde mig åt det, var det som om jag inte hade rätt
att känna en sådan lycka.

                                              Ivan, 13, flykting från Tuzla 


Det här är mitt allra värsta minne, djupt inne i
hjärtat… Jag önskar att ingen behövde uppleva det.
Hur kvinnor och barn tas med våld till ett fång-
läger. Jag kan inte få bort bilden ur mitt huvud,
för jag har själv varit med om det.

                                             Mario, 13, från Dubrovnik


Från boken “Jag drömmer om fred” från Unicef


Functions of Memorials


Download: holocaust_memorial.doc


So what exactly is a war memorial and what should be it’s foremost functions? Maybe one of the most important functions should be to help moving forward in the healing process. To be able to make sense of the past, make peace with it, and bring us into the future. And  maybe in order to heal, a war memorial needs to invoke public discussions and controversies.  

This was what architect Peter Eisenman thought when he designed The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. When the memorial finally unveild in May 2005, it had already been raising questions for public debate for 17 years. And still, it continues to do so. 

The Holocaust Memorial consists of an entire city block covered, seemingly haphazardly, in huge concrete blocks. Some of the steal pillars lay low to the ground, while others stand upright, the tallest reaching a height of 4.7 metres. The 2,711 pillars, planted close together in undulating waves, represent the 6 million murdered Jews. The Memorial in itself is merely a symbolic sculptural construct. It is obvious that it is not required to construct complex sculptures in order to generate a vast amount of media attention, discussions and controversies. 

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