The final project for my Conceptual Strategies class is to write a proposal for an improbable monument. We don't have to make anything, we just have to make something up and thoroughly articulate it.
In brainstorming for this project my thinking has been mostly abstract, making inventories of all the ways a monument can be improbable: its material, location, significance, its method/relational approach.
I am especially attracted to the idea of ephemeral monuments, which have a poignancy that bronze cannot contain. I have been thinking about scale. When we say monumental we generally mean something huge, which dwarfs us, perhaps reminding us of our insignificance, but generally so huge that it cannot be ignored. The Eiffel tower is monumental, but lends its incredible height to whoever cares to go up it.
If we have monuments mostly to remember and celebrate things, isn't it important to remember to laugh or dream or eat cookies? A monument to the future would probably be funny to our grandchildren.
Three specific ideas:
Tower of balloons: a monument to our collective hopes and dreams.
Individuals will assemble and each fill a balloon with helium and add it to the base of the tower, which will grow into the heavens with each addition.
The threaded snake which moves through space unbounded. This is the part where I am not limited by material concerns: A monumental pedestrian tunnel would go all around the city, snaking up over things and under ground, side to side and up and down, through the water and the tree tops and right through buildings. It would be elegantly engineered in the geometrical snakeskin style of Olafur Eliasson. This would be a monument to human imagination and creativity, a monument that is many places.
The monumental television. Televisions mostly function as a substitute for direct human contact, but a giant television, done in classic monument style in white marble would make an excellent giant projection screen, perhaps near a park.