Fall 2017's The Monument studio, led by visiting critics Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein, aims to design a contemporary version of a monument during a time when the collective expression of the public sphere—or, more politically speaking, the value of democracy—has been called into question. Earlier this semester, the studio traveled to Washington D.C., Charlottesville, and Monticello to view a range of U.S. monuments up close. Meng Jiang (MArch '19) shared some of the highlights of their trip.
Text and photos by Meng Jiang (MArch '19)
As a city artificially designed to be relevant with power and identity, Washington D.C. is filled with monuments which speak of unification, identity, and the accession of new regimes. Wandering through different monuments, we are confronted with various believes and ideologies of the different eras in the past—from the neoclassical syntax heavily used in the earlier Federal-sponsored monuments to the figural public monuments built by politically connected small interest groups to the journey of emotional discovery promoted in the late twentieth century. What event is worth remembering for our time? What’s the definition of monument for the contemporary Washington D.C.? All of these are up to us to further propose.