Sunday, April 4, 2010

Memorials (post #1)

In the couple of weeks since we've discussed the controversies and meanings behind memorials, I've been keeping an eye out for them and trying to decide how I feel about the monument vs. internet memorial contrast. I think it's important to say that I've been very fortunate in not being connected to any tragic event in a personal way, so I can only really view memorials as an observer and try to gather meaning from the statue or monument itself and the engravings that are sometimes included. This raises a question that we discussed in class: who are memorials really for? In the case of the 'to all women murdered by men' memorial, it addresses a specific issue involving a specific group of people, but does that mean that the rest of society is excluded? It's hard to imagine a scenario where someone paying respects or appreciating a memorial is asked to leave because it doesn't include them, it just seems counter-intuitive to the whole concept of remembering. As someone stated in class, the roadside memorials for those who have been killed on that spot always pause me for a moment and I think those are an effective way to acknowledge someone's life and death as well as act as a reminder to drive safely.

While I can appreciate both sides of the debate, the concept of internet memorials does not bother me at all. Maybe my opinion would be different if I was involved in or intimately connected to tragedy, but I believe that the way of remembering should be up to the person who wants to remember. It is nice to have a tangible object like a wall, bench, picture, or statue to appreciate and spend time with, but I agree with the notion that the internet has in a way become the new public space. I don't think it is disrespectful to feature memorials on the internet, but I think a line would be crossed if they altogether replaced 'real' city memorials. I'm in the process of researching various memorials in and around Vancouver and I plan to visit one of them sometime in the next week, and I'll post my thoughts and experiences afterwards.

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to your second post, Shawn. In the meantime, this one has prompted some interesting thoughts of my own on spontaneous and temporary vs. planned and permanent memorials.