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Contested Ground: Design and the Politics of Memory

22 January 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Venue: The Great Hall, The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street
New York

How can historians, architects, and designers make visible and physically memorialize lost histories—what the founding Director of the Smithsonian’s National African American Museum of History and Culture, Lonnie Bunch, refers to as “histories that hide in plain sight”? What are the design implications of spatializing the politics of memory? To whom will these memorials speak, and what do they tell us about our shared past? A three-way conversation between Jeanne Gang, Amanda Williams, and Mabel O. Wilson will explore these questions based on their research and design projects addressing public space, race, and cultural memory.


The discussion will include an exploration of the thematic links in three recent projects: Williams’ Thrival Geographies (In My Mind I See A Line), Gang’s Stone Stories—both created for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale US Pavilion, Dimensions of Citizenship—and Wilson’s Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia (designed in collaboration with Höweler + Yoon).