Forget About It

As part of the Architecture Foundation’s Good Grief series exploring themes of loss and resurrection, this debate asks whether our culture of rampant memorialisation is sustainable or healthy

Starts:

07:00pm, Friday, 16 September 2016

Until:

09:30pm, Friday, 16 September 2016

Where: Highgate Cemetery, Swain's Lane, London N6 6QX

Tickets: £10

 

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Good Grief is a collaboration between the Architecture Foundation, Sam Jacob Studio, Mushpit and Highgate Cemetery

Client

The Architecture Foundation

Architects

Sam Jacob Studio

Engineers

AKT II

Sponsors

AKT II, Carmody Groarke, RCKA, Zaha Hadid Architects

Drinks Sponsor


Our yearning to mark collective loss may have encrusted London with monuments to an ever-growing number of victims but has this proliferation undermined our sense of what is sacred?

“Disrespectful” harrumphed the Express newspaper, incensed that gamers were hunting Pokémon in the proximity of war memorials. In 2010 Charlie Gilmour was sentenced to 16 months in prison for swinging off the Cenotaph during a student fees protest. Last year rough sleepers were photographed camping at the Carmody Groarke-designed 7/7 memorial in Hyde Park. The website Totem and Taboo records the many examples of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial being employed as a selfie backdrop by users of the gay hook-up app, Grindr.

Meanwhile, monuments to celebrated figures of the past from Bomber Harris to Cecil Rhodes are proving equally problematic as a growing movement demands the destruction of historic statues to individuals whose once-venerated actions are now at odds with today’s morality. Budapest dealt with the scars of Stalinist Communism by relocating its Soviet-era statues to an out of town park – not forgotten but at arm’s length. Should London adopt a similar mechanism for decommissioning its memorials?

As part of the Architecture Foundation’s Good Grief series exploring themes of loss and resurrection, this debate asks whether our culture of rampant memorialisation is sustainable or healthy. Can a city remember too much? Have we hit ‘peak memorial’ and if not when will we?


Speakers

Cath Slessor and Tom Wilkinson (co-chairs)
Gavin Stamp, Writer and Architectural Historian
Andy Groarke, Co-founder of Carmody Groarke
Deborah Saunt, Co-founder of DSDHA
Robert Bevan, Writer for The Evening Standard
Jes Fernie, Curator and Writer

 


About the tomb

Sam Jacob Studio's A Very Small Part of Architecture (2016)

The Good Grief series is staged in and around a specially-commissioned temporary tomb designed by Sam Jacob Studio entitled A Very Small Part of Architecture.

A Very Small Part of Architecture resurrects Austrian Modernist architect Adolf Loos’s 1921 design for a mausoleum for art historian Max Dvorák. Though never built, the image of Loos’ design has haunted architectural culture ever since. Here the heavy dark and masonic form is recreated at 1:1 scale using a lightweight timber frame and scaffold net: A ghostly reenactment of an unrealised architectural idea.

Adolf Loos's Mausoleum for Max Dvorák (1921)

It takes its title from Loos’ essay Architecture (1910) in which he argues that “only a very small part of architecture belongs to the realm of art: The tomb and the monument”.

Built within Highgate Cemetery, amongst the many monuments and memorials to the dead, A Very Small Part Of Architecture makes a different kind of memorial. Not one dedicated to a person, an event or a moment in time, not designed to remember the past but instead to imagine other possibilities, altered presents and alternative futures.

More about the Good Grief series