Confronting Difficult Memory through Absence: Space in Contemporary Memorial Architecture

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    Contemporary Western society often strives to confront and cope with loss through projects that commemorate various events, both long past and recent. This is particularly true in cases of the trauma-laden remembrance of modern atrocities. Memorials are perceived as spaces that can provide necessary healing environments for the victims and their relatives, but are also planned to encourage remembrance by future generations. After the Second World War, designers faced with representing the Holocaust delivered radical approaches to spaces of memory, in many cases promoting oblivion or questioning the motives of memorializing in the first place. Contemporary memorials often address the representation of difficult memory with spaces of absence as the most tangible answer to loss and trauma.
    To understand this approach, this article investigates several memorial spaces responding to recent traumatic events, such as the Atocha 11M Memorial in Madrid, designs for planned memorials in Oslo and Utøya, the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)48-65
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of the LUCAS Graduate Conference
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


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