On Tuesday, September 19th, 1989, UTA Flight 772, a French airline Union des Transports Aériens plane had a scheduled flight plan from Brazzaville in the People’s Republic of Congo, to N’Djamena in Chad, with a final destination of Paris CDG airport in France. The flight would end in tragedy, as a terrorist bomb went off near the front of the plane, causing a massive crash over the Sahara Desert near the town of Ténéré in Niger. All 155 passengers and 15 crew members on-board died.
The details of the memorial dedicated to terror victims of the crash has been filing around the internet recently, and was fantastically covered by a (uncredited?) writer at Viral Nova. “Eighteen years later, families of the victims gathered at the crash site to build a memorial. Due to the remoteness of the location, pieces of the wreckage could still be found at the site. The memorial was created by Les Familles de l’Attentat du DC-10 d’UTA, an association of the victims’ families along with the help of local inhabitants. The memorial was built mostly by hand and uses dark stones to create a 200-foot diameter circle. The Ténéré region is one of the most inaccessible places on the planet. The stones were trucked to the site from over 70 kilometers away. The memorial was built over the course of two months in May and June of 2007.”
“170 broken mirrors, representing each victim, were placed around the circumference of the memorial. The memorial is anchored by the starboard wing of the aircraft which was trucked to the site from 10 miles away. Workers had to dig up the wing and empty it of sand. The memorial was partly funded by the $170 million compensation package provided by the Libyan government [ed. the six terror suspects convicted were Libyan nationals, opposed to French involvement].” Although an absolutely tragic story, the tale of this monument not only represents the resilience of the human spirit, but perhaps more importantly (and less clichéd) is the powerful human tendency to honor our loved ones. These kind of stories show people setting aside cultural/religious/ideological differences, and creating monuments or art together which will remain as a symbol of healing. (via viralnova)
Socialist-era monuments dot the countryside of the lands that once made up Yugoslavia, many of them World War II and concentration camp memorials. The majority of the the monuments were commissioned by then president Josip Broz Tito during the 1960’s and 70’s. Photographer Jan Kempenaers toured the countries that once made up Yugoslavia to document the monuments in this series of photographs. With the fall of socialism and the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the monuments were largely abandoned. The monuments’ neglect is apparent and contrasts severely against their futuristic aesthetic.
The grouping of monuments have not only been abandoned by visitors but also their meaning and symbolism. They ask serious questions regarding the nature of monuments in the sculptural tradition. What is a memorial when it no longer memorializes anything?
The name of Artist Scott Dickson‘s series Moment Monument, like the artwork, is a juxtaposition of sorts. Using vintage postcards as collage material, Dickson obscures the monuments that are the intended subject of the photographs. Using the vintage photos and geometric forms, Dickson relieves the monuments of their narrative and posterity. This allows a second look at the monuments physical context – it’s pedestal, its surrounding, the space it in inhabits. More importantly, though, it encourages a second look at monument’s conceptual context – the meaning of commemoration and memory through sculpture.
David Welch’s photographs document sculptural assemblages that form pseudo monuments, or totems of consumer goods and debris. The totems speak of accumulation and materiality and encourage debate about consumption, media, class, gender and the ways in which we feel compelled to consume.