What will the memorials of the future look like?

(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Neighborhood Memorials
“Neighborhood Memorials” invites residents to participate in creating memorials in their own neighborhood. The project will design 3-5 types of memorials that combine existing city infrastructure and resources—walls, bus shelters, trees in parks, sunlight—with low-cost exhibit materials created specifically for the memorial, such as portable projectors or large shadow art. The team will develop the framework and work with neighborhood residents to create content for each memorial. Memorials will be located in easily accessible places, such as transit hubs and local parks. While there will be a few frameworks, each memorial will be different in how it interacts with its site, in its content.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) ((Courtesy of the National Park Service))
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Content of Confinement
Contents of Confinement is a memorial exchange between “site” (Topaz Internment Camp, Utah) and “nonsite” (Hains Point, DC). The memorial extracts and isolates a large stone fragment of the now-abandoned internment site and relocates it for a period of four years, one month and one day (the length of American internment). The process of removal and reinstallation mirrors Japanese-American transplantation from cosmopolitan cities into barren desert prisons and highlights the contrast between environments. Enclosed on all four sides within the ‘nonsite’, the monolith is reflected as an infinite grid of barren ground by mirrored walls, fostering an experience of entrapment and isolation within an infinite and inescapable desert city. The process and period of extraction leaves an unmarked void behind at Topaz – an image of disappearance and seizure. After the internment period, the extraction is returned to Topaz – worn, eroded and changed forever by its own internment.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorial to Victims of Gun Violence in America
Our initial concept proposes small fountains shaped as individual States, wherein the invisible demarcation of ‘State Lines’ become pathways, uniting the nation through the very lines that ‘divide us’ into states.The jets of the fountains of each “State” will throb in accordance with the State statistics of gun violence, waters will build up over time, becoming more turbulent with the loss of life within each State. Over time, some states may be showing greater signs of pulsation, drawing attention to tumult waters of individual ‘State’ fountains. From mobile phones, visitors to the memorial will be able to access information at each ‘State fountain’ about Gun Violence statistics, legislation and current events by State and by Nation.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
The Pop-up Portal
The Pop-up Portal provides a simple and direct proposal for instantly constructing and sharing the collective experience of commemoration from multiple geographical locations, consequently weaving a more inclusive and adaptive network of memorials. Because of the advancement of communication technology and social media today, the impact for each current event is much more far-reaching and immediate than the past. The significance of a singular geographical memorial location becomes less important compared to the influence of a series of response network working as a collective organism. The modular immersive system is able to adapt to various environments, allowing it to embrace future technological advancement and the evolving demands of its users.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
The Installation of 6 Million Stars
The design incorporates an interactive method to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. The installation is built out of two joined open triangles. The installation illumines glints suggesting images of Stars against a dark background. Based on digital means and by touch, the Stars are activated by the visitors, linking each Star to a victim’s name and his/her biography. Participants are activating Stars at the same time, through the internet and at the location. As a result the Star composition is constantly changing. The digital method will encourage young participants to get involved.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorials for Native American
Few ethnic groups have narratives as complex as the Native American community. During the first half of the 1800s and throughout the Midwest, United States history wrote a saddening story of loss, control, and re-appropriation for Native American groups. Since that time, Native groups have undergone significant challenges to care take, curate, and continue their storied cultures. One way of telling their stories has been through the creation of memorials. Traditionally, these memorials have been literal representations of people or events built or carved from metal and stone. Interested in discovering new ways of storytelling, our team will reinterpret concepts of boundary and separation, land art, and traditional craft by employing contemporary investigations of built form, urban planning, audiovisual techniques, and materials. Through this process, we will develop a concept for a memorial that provides a meaningful narration of contemporary Native American culture and community.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
M.A.R.K.
It starts with the marker, or M.A.R.K. (Memorial Augmented Reality Key), and with an App of the same name. Scan the M.A.R.K., and your phone engages an RFID, GPS, and your camera. As your screen pans over the existing landscape, it adds a visual and auditory layer of history to the existing scene. In the top left corner is a simple timeline, with an icon dragged all the way to the right: the present. Slide left, and you are transported backwards through historical “moments” in time – the landscape changes, people come and go; you listen to their stories or record your own.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
NOAH’S ARK
‘Noah’s Ark’ serves as a potent reminder of an ongoing and seemingly unsolvable issue of migrant movement and resettlement. The fabrication and assembly structure, sited at Hains Point, produces a series of in-situ pods that are equipped and dispersed into the Potomac River and slowly and their way through the Chesapeake bay and into the Atlantic Ocean. Each pod is equipped with a plant bed, a gps, photovoltaic cells, a small motor, camera and ship sensor that enables it to track and find ships via online marine traffic maps, and tag onto them. As the larger ships traverse the seas, some pods disintegrate along the way while others reach new shores. The pods eventually become part of a large ecosystem around the world. These vessels are trackable online and are intended to draw attention to the virtual portal which will become the most reliable database for host countries and migrants. The eventual aim of ‘Noah’s Ark’ is to set in motion a large repository of information that can help refugees with their search for new frontiers, and countries in managing the ebb and flow of citizens and hopefuls alike.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
A Memorial to BioDiversity
We propose a range of memorial processes to be sited primarily in riparian zones of the city – inherently dynamic land areas adjacent to creeks and rivers. These processes will range in duration and permanence and include the planting of trees, the stenciling and stickering of public sites with tributes to extinct species, and the seasonal dyeing of storm sewers, creeks, and rivers by communities across the city. It is hoped that these acts of memorialization will render themselves irrelevant by helping to renew the conditions for biodiversity and a dynamic stability to the planet.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Commemorating Personal Experiences with Climate Change
Plans have just been announced for the first large-scale relocation of a community within the continental United States due to sea-level rise. While the physical consequences of climate change have been well documented, the emotional cost of the associated environmental degradation is not well understood. This proposal will provide a spatial response reflective of the ecological consequences of climate change that also examines the emotional challenges. Grief, loss, anxiety, and despair need to be addressed, so that people can reflect upon and process change, perhaps moving from collective expression to greater collective action. The proposed memorial garden and trail near the SW Ecodistrict will emphasize sensory experiences and embodied modes of learning, non-linear narratives, and areas of flexible programming and interpretive installations that bring together art and science.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorial to Public Space
Memorial to Public Space investigates and explores public parks as sites for creative historical reflections, remixes, and resonance. The project draws on layers of cultural memory within one of Washington DC’s most storied neighborhood parks with a guiding question: Who could be memorialized in the public space of Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park? Passersby will be invited to respond in a daytime design studio with proposals of digitally-rendered sculptures and curate a procession of spectral light monuments projected around the park at night. Memorial to Public Space is envisioned by Monument Lab, a Philadelphia-based public art and history collective.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorial River Promenade
A mere 500 feet south of the Lincoln Memorial is a neglected waterfront on the Potomac. This proposal seeks to establish the Memorial River Promenade that creates a critical mass of attractions by concentrating one hundred memorials between the river’s edge and Ohio Drive, SW in West Potomac Park. It would take the form of a 2/3 mile linear pedestrian path lined on both sides with designated memorial sites spaced fifty feet apart.At even intervals would be six large plazas dedicated to national events, detailed to match the Memorial Bridge aesthetic and projecting 30 feet into the River as bastions.Memorials could take any appropriate form approved by the Fine Arts Commission: sculptures, fountains, holographs, light shows, water craft formations, interactive displays, gardens or other permanent or temporal displays. Flowering Natchez crepe myrtle trees would occupy the spaces between and around memorial sites. Continuing the tradition of flowering trees, but not competing with the cherry blossoms, they would form blooming white cloud from June through September.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Re-frame, Re-cast, Re-tell: Freedom Stories along the Anacostia
Our proposal extends the memorial landscape of Washington, DC, east across the Anacostia River to connect its southeast neighborhoods with the capital’s commemorative landscapes. The proposed Anacostia Memorial Forest would be inaugurated with three commemorative works—a realignment of the existing Anacostia Drive as a memorial parkway, and two new projects nested within it honoring the legacy of Anacostia resident and freed slave Frederick Douglass. The intention of the memorial forest and Frederick Douglass Memorial Parkway is to reunite nearby communities with the riverfront, and provide future sites for commemorative works centered on the theme of emancipation. The Nursery for Three Million Trees, commemorating the individuals emancipated during the Civil War, provides a seedling for each visitor to plant at a location of his or her choosing. The Cedar Grove defines a clearing within a planting of Eastern red cedars, the symbolic tree of Frederick Douglass’ enslavement. Within this seasonally cultivated glade, visitors cast seeds of remembrance; its meadows recording their gestures, while reframing and retelling their freedom stories.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
American Wild: A Memorial
American Wild virtualizes the National Parks through an interactive, immersive installation. Using ultra-high-definition video, recordings of each 59 natural parks can be projection-mapped at full scale. Audio recordings heighten the visceral experience and establish emotional connections to the landscape. The memorial democratizes National Park access by creating an installation in one of the most economically and racially diverse neighborhoods in the nation’s capital. Full scale, immersive environment design expands access to both phenomenological experience and ecological understanding. In so doing, the memorial reinvigorates the ways in which we interact with the cultural and biological diversity of the American landscape.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorial for Otherness
The Memorial for Otherness pushes the boundaries of WHAT and HOW we memorialize. It challenges the predominant notion of memorials that embody power and stature and propose memorializing issues such as women’s rights and immigration as a public discourse. Two manifestations that allow visitors to create and participate and also flexible, replicable, adaptable and scalable – have been proposed. The first is an Inverted Pyramid facilitating visitors to declare their stance using selfies – a dynamic documentary of the ephemeral nature of social perspective. The second, a Solar Doodle, a crowdsourced, semi-physical and three dimensional take of on Google’s Doodle.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Personal Tragedy
In mainstream American culture, grief is marginalized, even stigmatized. When a person falls in public, strangers rush to his aid; when he breaks down in tears, they avoid eye contact. By restricting their focus to the legacies of canonized figures and events, most memorials miss an opportunity to address that taboo on the public expression of grief and engage participants in the act of mourning. Our memorials would work toward that goal by integrating interactive, sustainable monuments to personal tragedy within the context of daily metropolitan life.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
The Foundation of Freedom
We are proud to contribute to the Memorials for the Future competition with two works designed specifically for Washington D.C. Both works are based upon the idea of the Foundation of Freedom and act as a constant reminder that life and freedom are worth fighting for and moreover should be cherished now, and in the future. ‘The nucleus of existence’ celebrates the beginning of everything that surrounds us and the importance of life. The Constitutional Grinder reminds the onlooker of the fundaments of the U.S. constitution whilst providing a sneak peek behind the doors of the Supreme Court.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Home for the Homeless
In an age where social media and other platforms give one person the means to reach millions, Memorials for the Future seek to make this virtual platform a physical reality. Memorials should seek to be “facilitated,” as opposed to “curated,” which allows the audience to participate directly in the process of placemaking. The future of memorial design is found within the masses, crowdsourcing the experience of remembrance. These monuments are personal, flexible, and vary in experience with each passing day. Its focus is fixed but the narrative has no end; reflecting the changing times, themes, and sentiments within a given subject.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
The IM(MIGRANT) : Honoring the Journey
The experience of movement and migration is the elemental experience of what it means to be an American. Leaving home, hopeful and expectant, and meeting hostility and kindness, misunderstanding and acceptance. Overcoming obstacles fueled by ambition and resourcefulness. Making a new home among people familiar and strange. Immigrant experiences, including those of native peoples, are at the foundation of the national psyche. They are also experiences that divide our country and have been a part of our political debate since the country’s founding. THE IM(MIGRANT) is a proposal that responds to these ideas, reinforcing core American beliefs by unfolding and commemorating the varied journeys that grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and strangers have taken through the landscape of Washington, DC. It offers the visitor access to the experience of movement, of arrival, and of making a new home.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Climate Chronograph
A platform for witnessing rising seas, the Climate Chronograph is a living observatory for an unfolding global story. As seas rise, cherry trees die in place, becoming bare branched delineations of shorelines past. Over a lifetime, a visitor will experience the same place in its ever-changing condition, a legible demonstration of generational-paced change. This new memorial is continually becoming, and in doing so offers a new approach to monumentality. A light human hand sustainably initiates a profound pastoral meditation. This landscape chronograph marks both our vulnerability and our response. It records the challenges before us.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
VOICEOVER:
histories, memories, and flights of fancy
VOICEOVER is a project that embraces a spirit of revisionism as a means toward a broader and more democratic form of national memorialization. Rather than a freestanding monument, VOICEOVER is a supplemental overlay that expands the original monuments’ meanings and extends the territory of possible memorial subjects deeply into Washington DC’s urban fabric. Fragmentary and dependent by nature, VOICEOVER makes no claims toward cultural conclusions on historic events. Rather, VOICEOVER is a loud call to reawaken a nation to its relevant and multi-faceted pasts. It gives voice to the diverging understandings and conflicting perspectives of a multi-cultural society.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
“MonYOUment”
monYOUment is a mobile-monument-making unit, allowing district residents to tell their own history, turning the power of memorialization from official bodies to the individuals whose history is made day by day. Using Indiana Limestone, the “nation’s building stone” used to make the Washington Monument, the Capitol, and other famous sites, the everyday history of a neighborhood is recorded through small stone markers, a hand carved map highlighting the locations, and a log of stories associated with each micro-monument.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorials for the Future Lost Cities
Sea-level rise in the coming century is predicted to change the shape of America’s coastal cities. Neighborhoods and potentially whole cities will be lost or altered beyond recognition. We are proposing an elevated structure built on Hains Point to commemorate these cities. It will house a small exhibition space, a covered picnic/play area and a server to host a digital library dedicated to the evolution of these urban spaces through documenting their pasts, the construction of their futures and the daily lived experience of those of us living through these changes.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
You Are Here… Elsewhere
“You are here… elsewhere” is an interactive and participative installation at the crossroads of different video-graphic languages, such as documentaries, animation drawing, video games, interaction, etc. It is a hybrid form giving the viewer a look at public space as an interactive space. The creation of “You are here…elsewhere” is based on a participative process, an artistic and territorial immersion conducted with the residents. Before the installation, workshops are organized with the residents. It gives the opportunity to place the public in the heart of the creation. Their voices, stories, graphic and pictogram works are incorporated into the installation to create an intimate and participative piece of art.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Virtual Memorial
The roles of memorials are multifaceted. Not only do they commemorate an event, place, or individual(s) they become destinations. Of greater significance, they produce an effect onto the user; who are forever changed based on their interaction with the memorial. This suggests that memorials’ role as cultural relevance does not necessarily rely or depend on their physicality. The Virtual Memorial is an APP that allows users to engage with the city. They can download different curated walks that alert the user via GPS of significant events that had occurred at that specific site as they stroll through the city. These events become visceral because they are place specific. The user is connected to the event/place transcended through time. The following is a list of possible Virtual Memorials:
– Lost Washington DC – buildings/places lost
– Solomon Northup’s Kidnapping Path
– Underground Railroad & anti-slavery activity
– Fredrick Douglas Path
– 1835 Snow Riot
The roles of memorials are multifaceted. Not only do they commemorate an event, place, or individual(s) they become destinations. Of greater significance, they produce an effect onto the user; who are forever changed based on their interaction with the memorial. This suggests that memorials’ role as cultural relevance does not necessarily rely or depend on their physicality. The Virtual Memorial is an APP that allows users to engage with the city. They can download different curated walks that alert the user via GPS of significant events that had occurred at that specific site as they stroll through the city. These events become visceral because they are place specific. The user is connected to the event/place transcended through time. The following is a list of possible Virtual Memorials:
– Lost Washington DC – buildings/places lost
– Solomon Northup’s Kidnapping Path
– Underground Railroad & anti-slavery activity
– Fredrick Douglas Path
– 1835 Snow Riot
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
The Digital Layers : Memorial as Platform
THE DIGITAL LAYER // MEMORIAL AS PLATFORM imagines a world where any surface can be an interface and physical spaces have operating systems. The digital layer will be home to hardware and software that is networked together, transforming public spaces into a new digital frontier. The interactive platform gives the community agency over the memorial sites, content and viewing times. Under the Creative Commons, the public gains access to the assets that power the digital layer—code, graphics, sounds, templates and source files. The system reimagines the potential of memorials as a catalyst for collaboration, opportunity, innovation and wonder.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorial to Democracy
What does it mean to have a memorial to democracy? We will encourage a collaborative effort to define what democracy means to the citizens of Washington D.C. In so doing we will create a space for the contemplation and questioning of the term democracy in both a physical and digital setting. Simple ephemeral check marks will be formed into tangible material objects, literally adding weight and depth to our individual marks as citizens. Can a memorial be educational, topical and immediate even when the subject is over 1,500 years old. We think it can.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Indiscriminate Victims of Global Terrorism
An Urgent Task
Twenty years ago, “terrorism” was a foreign word in the garbled mouths of most Americans. Today, it rolls off the tongue. It strikes hard and quick and is instantly life altering for the loved ones of those it affects. We live in an uncertain world. Even the most innocent among us are at risk when we are doing nothing more than living our daily lives. A memorial that recognizes the indiscriminate victims of terrorism does not seek specific names or even numbers. Instead, it seeks humanity. It seeks listeners. In the words of JFK, “we have no more urgent task.”
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Recovery Project
Future memorials need to consider new means for communicating powerful stories, engaging audiences, and activating public spaces. RECOVERY PROJECT is an endeavor by the collective FURTHERMORE to honor collective memory by re-animating the content of memorials that speak to our present moment with renewed urgency, yet are limited by their present form. Using tools from new media, social practice, oral history, pedagogy and community organizing, the team plans to virtually ‘transport’ existing memorials, deconstruct them, and reimagine them in communities where their subject finds renewed relevance. In doing so we commemorate something not yet lost but perpetually threatened: the commons.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Cultur-Altar
Cultur-altar is a memorial for sacrifice; and a sacrifice of gifts to an altar for humanity.
Initially, the Cultur-altar is a memorial in Eastern Market Park for the artist formerly known as Prince. The Cultur-altar will function as a meeting place for public events, such as public speeches and concerts. Visitors are asked to bring images, letters, and other items of personal significance, regarding the memorialized person, issue, or narrative, to the celebration and cast them into the altar as gifts to humanity. The gifts will be ceremonially burned on the altar, then spread in the form of Prince’s symbol.
(Courtesy of the National Park Service) (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
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(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
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(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
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(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
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(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
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(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
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(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)
(Courtesy of the National Park Service)

WASHINGTON — The next memorials built in the nation’s capital may be more than just names, faces or quotes on stone. It might be nowhere near the National Mall. It might even be a virtual memorial. It depends on who wins a contest that’s been years in the making.

The Memorials for The Future competition started with 89 teams and is down to 30 semifinalists. That list will be pared to a mere three — to be announced June 8. Each team in the finals will get $15,000 to research and design their visions.

The semifinalists’ ideas include new memorials as well as new ways to enjoy and expand upon structures already in place. One proposal isn’t a memorial at all: It’s an app that integrates GPS and your phone’s camera to survey the land before you and add history and context to what you’re seeing.

Other proposed memorials envision structures that pay tribute to a vast array of events, people and ideas. Among them are a memorial to the victims of gun violence, a memorial to cities that may be lost to rising seas, a memorial to biodiversity, a memorial to public space and a memorial to “personal tragedy.”

The Memorials for The Future competition is a joint venture of the National Park Service, the National Capital Planning Commission and the Van Alen Institute. The goal is to envision future memorials “that are adaptive, ephemeral, virtual, event-focused, or interactive.”

The winner will be announced Sept. 8. According to the park service, “The results will inform NPS, NCPC and their partners on future memorial design and policy opportunities.”

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