Memorials and Impermanence: ASLA DIRT guest post

https://dirt.asla.org/2017/09/18/americas-memorials-must-evolve/

 

"Akin to a tattoo removal, Confederate monuments and other long-tolerated symbols of racism are beginning to be expelled from America’s civic landscapes.  As we engage in these acts of reconciliation and removal, I believe it is worth significant pause to consider why we seem to habitually design memorial landscapes for indelible permanence in the first place?  A memorial – whether a monument or otherwise - is simply a tangible container for memory through time.   We benefit from having designated places to recall memory and emotion – whether grief, pain, fear, anger, love, respect, reverence, gratitude, awe, pride, or joy. Part of the complexity of being human means that it is possible to feel multiple emotions simultaneously, and also that our feelings and memories are dynamic and can change over time. New knowledge and experience, and a genuine willingness to face difficult truths - such as the violence of slavery and lasting racism - can significantly alter and expand our perception of the past.  As such, might there be virtue in designing certain memorial landscapes to allow for a degree of fluidity and change? I believe that, moving forward, American monuments and memorial landscapes in the 21st century may better be able to embody shared cultural values; reflect an inclusive and emotionally intelligent view of history; mirror and support dynamic emotional processes; aid healing, forgiveness and reconciliation; honor diversity, accept death, and truly affirm life if they are designed to consider the virtues and qualities of temporality, adaptibility, and sentience.. "

Read the whole post here.