Unintended Momuments: Redefining Monumentality by Temporal De-normalization and Engagement

Related Staff : Schuldenfrei, Eric H.

Student: Cheng Siu Tai, Sam
Supervisor: Dr. Eric H. Schuldenfrei

Architecture operates in time. It evolves by witnessing events and embodying clues of the past as physical scars, images, myths, practices and so on.

In the case of the studied 16 guerilla attack sites of Moscow, the physical clues of the sites to the past are deliberately erased by the authority as a denial of the existence of current risks to Moscow people- an intended anonymity of space. The recurring practices of commemoration become the only linkage of the space to its traumatic past- when events become the sole historical definition to space.

This thesis challenges the repertoire of architecture- how could architecture provoke thoughts and reactions to the unresolved current conflicts that are not acknowledged by authoritative bodies? Temporal architectural operations are utilized as a tool to create events which reveal the hidden clues of a place to its past in specific instances within a year. The operations are subversive and align with the schedule of existing commemoration practices- the annually recurring events that trespass authoritative control and temporarily challenge the unchallengeable- the idea of Carnivalesque by the Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin.

This thesis focuses on the creation of anomaly to typical objects that we usually encounter- in a state of such banality that one could not even further normalize it. Instead of proposing another typical monument, that may serve as a token of guilt in which the memory may slowly disappear due to unconscious habituation; a series of monuments that are activated cyclically and engages through personal participations may provide an alternative answer closer to the operation of how contemporary society remembers.