Monuments and memorials contend with the complex terrain of memory and loss. The function of memory within the context of loss and grieving can be seen both as an individual and collective occurrence and is often a combination of the two. This intensive diversity studies and community arts studio course examines monuments and memorials as point of departure for community engagement. Often memorials and monuments that exist within a particular geographic neighborhood bear no relation to the communities that live there. The territory of loss and remembrance encompass more traditionally experienced subjects such as loss due to a particular armed conflict or the death of a historical figure as well as subjects like environmental loss, and cultural conflict. This course seeks to investigate what are the fundamental qualities that make up a monument or memorial and how can this understanding translate into the production of more community specific forms of remembrance.
With it pliancy, impressionability and historical importance, ceramics will be the primary medium to execute these projects. No prior ceramic experience is required however there will be assignments and lectures directed towards proficiency in this area which will involve a technical, historical, and aesthetic understanding of this medium.
Essential to the success of this course is an in-depth discussion / reflection / examination of monuments, memorials, counter-monuments, cultural geography, and the differences between public space and private space. This course will require you to familiarize yourself with different research techniques in order to gain an in-depth understanding of a particular community. In addition we will study carefully different methods for working in the community including covert and overt installation techniques, the use of the multiple, and temporal installations. Participants will be required to hone both analytical skills and fabrication techniques and bring their own extensive experiences and expertise to bear on this vital topic.
Eventually this course will work with members of the Temescal neighborhood; students will work with community members towards the creation of monuments and memorials that specifically speak about community experiences, achievements, losses and traumas. The goal here is to create a series of objects that reveal or draw attention to something overlooked, hidden, unseen, or absent, or which bear witness to a past event of particular significance to that community. To that end field trips / site visit are an intrinsic part of this course.