Contemporary anti-memorials and national identity in the Victorian landscape

Ware, S 2004, 'Contemporary anti-memorials and national identity in the Victorian landscape', Journal of Australian Studies: Colonial Post, vol. 81, pp. 121-134.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Contemporary anti-memorials and national identity in the Victorian landscape
Author(s) Ware, S
Year 2004
Journal name Journal of Australian Studies: Colonial Post
Volume number 81
Start page 121
End page 134
Total pages 14
Publisher University of Queensland Press
Abstract [article extract] The success of the book Sacred Places: War Memorials in the Australian Landscape1 has marked a resurgence of public interest in Australian memorials. The federal goverment has commissioned a number of new memorials as Australia reflects upon the centenary of its federation.2 Chilla Bulbeck describes the evolution of Australian memorials when she states: To some extent, the recent history of Australian monument construction parallels the reorientation of Australian history from the deeds that won the empire or nation to the activities of ordinary men and women and the history of local communities.3 Through a series of case studies of both built and proposed work, this article explores a contemporary movement in public commemoration: the anti-memorial. Anti-memorials critique the illusion that the permanence of stone somehow guarantees the permanence of the idea it commemorates.4 In contrast, antimemorials formalise impermanence and even celebrate their own transitory natures. Anti-memorials encourage multiple readings of political and social issues, and prompt a different level of physical interactivity. The forms that antimemorials take, their impermanence and the people they commemorate challenge the logic behind traditional memorials. Anti-memorials reflect a focus on unnamed victims as opposed to heroes, offering an alternative reading of Australian history. They emphasise the informal and the local as opposed to the formal and the national, and are sited so as to allow interaction and more personal forms of mourning. They are often temporary, embodying the changing, fading nature of memory as opposed to a structure built to preserve memory and withstand time.
Subject Political Science not elsewhere classified
DOI - identifier 10.1080/14443050409387943
ISSN 1444-3058
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