Monday, November 26, 2007

Memorials/Ritual/Commemoration

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

Art21 on ritual and commemoration: Kiki Smith and Maya Lin

Comments due by Monday 12-3.

8 comments:

aydin1107 said...

I have seen a lot of roadside memorials considering I just drove to Ohio then Tenn. But, I think that people are usually to busy trying to get to work and then home again to notice these most of the time. So, I think these are more for the families and friends who put them there than anything else. And on the New York memorial I would think a lot of people would be offended that they are building a memorial that is the same height as the towers that were there before. "Marks the symbolic height of 1776" But it seems they are more concerned with the skyline than memorializing the place where this happened. They go so far as to say that the building will, "complement the statue of liberty." And they talk about how it will, "restore the skyline with a tall and dramatic new symbol for New York."
http://www.renewnyc.com/plan_des_dev/refined_slideshow/slide01.asp

livefish said...

Living in another country it's really interesting what people do with memorials and who they are of...I noticed a guy peeing on the statue of Samora Machel(link) who was the president of Mozambique and just how some people respect it and others use it for personal use. Now on these 9/11 memorials...they are great but at the same time can bring pain....just remembering that....and also spending so much money for that when they could be using that money to help third world countries EAT! what's wrong here?....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samora_Machel

retroclide said...

Having lived in Germany on and off all my life, I'm saddened by the way American disregard memorials, specifically grave yards. In Europe, there is an concept that the dead are always with you. Simply because a relative is dead and burried doesn't mean that he isn't part of your life. Spending time in grave yards is part of normal life. It's not a daily ritual, but it's not odd to spend a Saturday afternoon every couple of weeks with a dead relative. Tending the graves is a part of life. Cleaning headstones, planting flowers, etc. are ways of honoring the dead, taking care of them and spending time with dead family members.

exquisitedesign said...

On the website that I found, it gives information about the 9/11 memorial and an interactive look as to how it might look. It explains how there will be 2 memorial pools that kind of signify the twin towers, and around the pools will be the names of those lost on 9/11 and in 1993. What this reminds me of is the traveling wall I saw in Noblesville a few years ago, which is a replica of the original one that comemorates those lost and those never found in Vietnam. Though it has different structural characteristics, both seem to have a common way of remembering the lives that have passed.

http://www.national911memorial.org/site/PageServer?pagename=building_home

Marc said...

On my way back to my house I saw a group of people decorating a roadside memorial near my home. The country road that connects to the highway near my house is very dangerous and has had many deaths throughout the years I have lived there. The intersection has tendency for vehicles to roll over, which accounts for the majority of motor vehicle deaths nationally.

The memorial serves a traditional sense of honoring those who died at this place. But, the brightness of what is in place now actually helps to illuminate the corners and makes junction safer especially at night.

http://www.roadandtravel.com/newsworthy/newsandviews03/2002highwaydeaths.aspx

tnap said...

The most powerful memorial I've ever seen was that of my grandmother's. It was an unmarked grave in Germany. It was so moving because it was so private and personal. My family had kept it looking beautiful and it was nice because only we knew that she was there. While I do have a liking for private memorials, there is nothing wrong with public ones. I think that the 9/11 memorial and museum is a great idea. It shows that we care about who was lost. The museum is also awesome because it can teach the next generation about what happened. http://www.national911memorial.org/site/PageServer?pagename=btm_nationalTour

Kaitlin said...

The idea of memorials has been continually used throughout the history of our world. The fact that so many people feel a deep need to remember the dead may explain the reason for graves and memorials. A grave may say a few words about the individual that died and this is honoring them in a way. It is much easier to deal with the death of someone when we can see a visual symbol to represent it.
I feel like people will create beautiful and impressive graves because they feel that they will still have a place on the earth once they are gone. Powerful kings in ancient civilizations would create massive burial rooms that were elaborately decorated. There is a want in individuals to commemorate themselves, and by doing so ease their fear of death.

The victims of 9/11 are considered very important in our culture. There are many individuals that are still mourning the loss of their friends/family from the tragic event. Memorials are created to ease the pain of loss and honor those that died.
This website talked about the different kinds of graves that could be used...
http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/cemetery/graves.htm

bigbadteacher said...

This post has been graded.