...the problem with memorials is that they freeze history – and knowledge – in its tracks. They perpetuate the myths that at once sustain us and, with the connivance of our leaders, keep us stupid and obedient. One solution might be to have many more.Don Watson
Amid growing public debate around the value of historical monuments and memorials that commemorate contested histories and controversial figures, this studio will experiment with how contemporary architecture can point to increasing public consciousness of the complexity of our past including responding to uncomfortable and darker parts of our history.
Monuments and memorials are ubiquitous in civic areas in Australian cities and towns, they are prominent in public squares, parks and gardens, central streets, avenues and intersections. They comprise many forms and typologies ranging from cenotaphs and obelisks to statues and pillars, ornamental structures including windows, flagpoles, gates or arches, as well as memorial buildings, halls, schools, swimming pools and remembrance drives.
Informed by readings and research, site visits and site analysis, students will undertake a range of design projects, from preliminary small-scale temporary installations to larger memorials. All projects will be located adjacent to, or super-adjacent to, existing local monuments. Mixed-media collage and physical models will be used to document and record research and site investigation, to interrogate and unpack existing monument form, as well as to manifest and express design ideas. Design projects will explore monuments and memorials as places of truth telling. Research will foreground Indigenous voices and scholarship.
The Studio will be delivered online however students will be required to undertake site visits to a cemetery and various monuments and memorials within their local areas.