Monumenta, 2018. Participative unique website, dimensions variable by device. For live project visit: http://monumenta.co/
Monumenta is a public and participative web space dedicated to the contemporary anti-monument. It is an experimental open space that goes beyond national borders –www– and ponders on how contemporary technologies can cater non-prescriptive ways to reimagine the idea of public monument. Its stance regarding "curating" is that there should be none. Openness is essential, as public monuments should be made «by» the public not «for» the public, and that is what makes it anti – not being determined by any authoritative force. Initially, the idea of Monumenta arose in response to the intent of the government of Puerto Rico to make a monument to the victims of hurricane Maria, which were due more to their negligence than climatic disaster.
It's about horizontality, about dissolving power hierarchies and exclusionary ways that defines over the people from "below"; about a power shift; an experiment on equitable development regarding public matters in the creative artistic realm. Even if it's just digital inmaterial public, it is a valid space, another important political arena, and can also contain ideas that can be transferred irl (in real life) and back.
We have assumed certain ways of creating and ideating monuments (that have been imposed from forces in power) but it doesn't have to be like that, it does not need to have any particular form, visuality, material, medium and/or format. A monument basically is about something that has a primordial importance to you or the rest, and it should be memorialized, pasted and embodied in some way in time and space. Intervening in public space and amplifying hidden histories enriches our collective memory.
Since antiquity, monuments have been used by authoritarian social forces to construct collective memory in the public space –be it by the state, government, kings, the church or a dictator– therefore they are also an exercise on fabricating national and political identities. While current identity politics are being co-opted by particular political agendas, it is important to expose the construct of cultural identity and to question the process of creating history.
What monuments are designed to hold the wrongdoings of the state in public consciousness or to cover up the dark side of its past? What fading or lost memories must be recovered uncompromisingly into public awareness? Beyond the phallic-monumental forms that have dominated the public sphere, what other forms, figures, stories, metaphors, identities, aesthetics and uses could conform the monument today?
Contributing to the decline of the monumental tradition that monumentalizes the 'past' and prescribes the relationship of community or nation with its past, Monumenta proposes to empower the public domain in a transnational space (www) defying the forces and borders of the construction of national identity. Monumenta opens a space, in which experimentation can take form in a variety of content inputs, text entries and space to play with all these elements and their signifiers in the construction of collective, personal and autobiographical identities.
Collaborator & advisor: Enityaset Rodríguez Santos.
Gabriella Torres Ferrer