School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics

Lecture 2

Lecture 2: The Geometry of Memory

This lecture examines the striking preference for horizontality as an axis of spatial memory in commemorative art.  From Käthe Kollwitz’s memorial sculpture for her son in Flanders, to anti-monuments after the Holocaust, to museum design at the end of the twentieth century, the observers’ gaze has been drawn downward in contemplation of war and its destructive power.  Other axes of visual art are used as well, but in dialogue with the horizontal.  This choice is clear break with earlier forms of celebratory commemorative art and architecture.