In[(form)ation] Memoriam

Misinformation, particularly through digital means, has proven to be a dangerous accelerant in creating division, sowing distrust, and promoting societal factions. Throughout the past year fundamental debates on trusting science, systemic human rights issues, and the democratic political system have caused a dramatic amount of violence and loss. When a society experiences trauma, whether national or local, the default genre used to remember and sometimes absolve the community is monumental architecture. However, monuments reflect a moment in time, which causes a two-fold: become diluted over time as a meaningless structure or to be newly reexamined by activated community members as problematic and not representative of our present moment.

This thesis challenges the conventional messaging impact of monuments by proposing an evolutionary process to foster communal ownership over civic space. It seeks to answer the question, how can a physical educational infrastructure repair the displacement of values and promote civic engagement rather than civic and social unrest? Here, monuments are approached as living reflections of a society constantly adjusting to advancing values and principles. Through aggregating layers of forms to existing monuments or to places that have become monumental, the purpose is to reframe our collective perspective on why and if something should be considered monumental. Taking on categories of monumental spaces within the continental US, this thesis develops a system of proposals to strengthen the communicative potential of physical artifacts. Ultimately, this is a system to contextualize existing monuments and provide agency to people to educate one another.
Faculty Advisor:
Julia McMorrough