Design activism and the contested terrains of memorials

27 May 2009

There is an incongruity between the inherent changeability of both landscapes and memories, and the conventional, formal strategies of commemoration that typify the constructed landscape memorial. This paper will examine two recent memorial projects which were temporary and ephemeral. One concerns the fate of illegal refugees travelling to Australia: The SIEVX Memorial Project. The other, An Anti-Memorial to Heroin Overdose Victims, was designed by the author as part of the 2001 Melbourne Festival. The memorial work presented in this paper hopes to illicit discussion and renewal of ongoing debates. Beyond grappling with temporary or ephemeral memorials, or anti-memorials, the work presented here engages in a kind of design activism. The design work proposes physical catalysts for social change.