Designing A Memorial
Art 126: Introduction to the Visual Arts/Designing a Memorial
Chapter 9, Mortality and Immortality, discusses some of the ways in which cultures around the world have commemorated the dead. For this exercise, you are to design a memorial or tomb, to yourself if you like, or to a person or group of people you feel deserve commemoration.
You should give careful thought to what you want your memorial to look like. This is to be a public structure and one where price is no object.
First, take some time and explore some historic tombs and memorials. Consider the kinds of statements they make, and the experiences you feel while walking around and inside them.
Chapel of Henry VII, Westminster Abbey, London:
Taj Mahal, Agra, India:
Tomb of Napoleon, Paris, France:
Genghis Khan Memorial, Mongolia:
Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, Washington, DC:
John Lennon Peace Monument, Liverpool, England:
MLK Memorial, Washington, DC:
Pentagon Memorial, Washington, DC:
Here are some things you should think about as you plan your memorial or tomb:
What form will the memorial take? Will it be large or modest in size? Will it incorporate sculpture, painting, or other media? Will it be showy or restrained? How large will it be? What surroundings should it have? In thinking through your options, you should consider what kind of experience you want visitors to your memorial to have.
What will the memorial say about the person it is dedicated to? Will it portray their (or your) accomplishments? Will it say anything about their family or heritage? What will it say about the kind of person they are and the kind of life they led? How will the form and decoration of the tomb communicate the message you want to leave behind about the person(s) commemorated there? Note that your memorial/tomb is not required to be honest! You are the designer, so it can present whatever image of your subject you wish. You will not be graded on faithfulness to reality.
Prepare a sketch of your memorial, showing its general shape and scale. This should be scanned into PDF form and appended to your paper, or alternately take a picture with your phone or other device and email it to me at the email address provided on Blackboard Instructor Info area.
The paper itself ought to be 3--4 pages long, double--spaced, in 12 point font. The paper ought to contain a description of the tomb or memorial. Describe its form, materials, and decoration, and how they relate to your intended message. For this section, draw on the vocabulary you learned in Module I regarding media, form, and architectural techniques.
As you go, discuss how your memorial relates to those in Chapter 9 of your textbook. Does it borrow from any of them? Which are most similar to your design and conception, and which are most different? Consider also the other chapters in Module II and the ways in which basic human concepts such as food, shelter, religion, family, power, and social affirmation are reflected in your final design.
This paper should be saved in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF form and must be uploaded to Blackboard by 11:59 pm on End of Week 5. Late papers will be marked down 10 points for every day they are late.
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