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Overlaying Memories

Traditionally, monuments are erected to commemorate an event or person however, they quickly become entrenched within the urban fabric, no longer noticed by the general populous of the city, who travels past them every day. Often they seek to commemorate an end as opposed to marking a change.

This monument is not about a single story, but a series of events that are taking place all over London Each year communities are displaced due to development or public land sale, permanently altering the area from which they are often forcibly removed. These communities often have little to no ability to contest such decisions and will almost certainly not be rehoused as a community, or return to the area they have been displaced from. These areas are then altered by the subsequent development and the past becomes consumed by the city. As cities are always evolving, the story of their past is held in the subconscious of its inhabitants, traces of these stories are entrenched in the urban fabric of the city, when this is removed the stories become lost.

The proposed monument does not seek to create a mausoleum of the past or negate the need for development but to commemorate the displaced community and to leave a trace. These traces would be left to inform new inhabitants of the community that pre-dated them. Examples of displacement can be seen all over London from Robin Hood Gardens to the Heygate Estate or the effects of Crossrail. As such this monument or collection of traces will never be finished as the cities inhabitants traverse London they will be able read the traces as a markers of change. To reinforce the fragility of the urban fabric and the ability for landowners to effect the continuity of place through development.

Each trace will be located at the site of an existing community. Physically it will exist as a set of concrete blocks who’s aggregate is comprised of the demolished buildings fabric. Each block will be volumetrically different to represent the amount of people displaced in and around its location. This differs from traditional monuments as it leaves behind a trace of the past as opposed to entombing an event or person. Due to the constant unfinished nature of the collective traces all around London these monuments will be recognised as a visual key for social change, due to their size they will also become visible on mapping software which will allow them to be mapped over time.

The idea behind this monument is not for it to stand as commemoration of an event or person, but to leave a series of traces to make evident the process of displacement.