Taken from How Art Made the World:
What is a memorial?
What is it expected to represent about memory, death, loss and time? Is it a lesson from the past, or a warning in the present? A memorial can serve a national purpose, like the Washington DC Vietnam memorial, or a very personal one as with cemetery tombstones and roadside shrines for the victims of auto accidents. It can be deeply sad, or openly political, endorsing differing views of past history. The design of a memorial may incorporate both abstract visual symbols and literal representations of people and events. It can use its formal design to direct emotions and responses, or leave them largely to the immediate experiences of visitors. It can directly express goals and beliefs about war, heroism, or justice, or it can simply create a space where people can contemplate their own sense of events.
What examples of public or personal memorials have you seen? What did you think about their designs and intentions; what did the memorials communicate to you? How?
Consider, as well, the implications and design of currently controversial projects like the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site in New York City. What does the present design propose about the immediate events and the lessons we are to learn from them? How is it meant to serve the many different visitors—families of victims, New Yorkers, politicians, visitors from around the US and the rest if the world? To answer these questions students will need to research and find images of proposed designs, intentions. One useful website is the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
Comments due by Monday 12-3.