The discourse of counter-monuments: semiotics of material commemoration in contemporary urban spaces
2016 (English)In: Social Semiotics, ISSN 1035-0330, E-ISSN 1470-1219, Vol. 26, no 5, 465-485 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article analyses strategies of material commemoration in contemporary urban spaces. Deploying a philosophical and social-theoretical interpretation systematised by, in particular, Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies and its analysis of material commemoration, the article compares the semiotics of modes of commemorating through monuments and counter-monuments. As is argued, counter-monumental commemoration aligns much better than the traditionally static and non-dialogic monuments with the ongoing post-modern transformation and fluidity of contemporary urban spaces. By the same token, counter-monuments also allow commemoration of complex and difficult past events – such as the Holocaust – that are traditionally surrounded by multiple interpretations and often-conflicting attempts to commemorate them. The analysis at the core of the paper looks in-depth at counter-monumental installations known as Stolpersteine, or Stumbling Blocks, developed since the early 1990s by the German artist Gunter Demnig as a form of commemoration of victims of National Socialism and especially the Holocaust. As is suggested, counter-monuments such as the Stolpersteine carry multiple meanings and have multiple functions which allow for diverse patterns of interaction with past/present. They also allow embedding the dialogue between forms of commemoration (monument/counter-monument) various recipients (locals/tourists, spectators/passers-by) as well as their varied interpretations and expectations of commemoration in the discourse of contemporary urban space.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2016. Vol. 26, no 5, 465-485 p.
Counter-monuments, monuments, collective memory, commemoration, remembrance, urban space
Humanities Art History
Research subject Art History
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-47042DOI: 10.1080/10350330.2015.1096132ISI: 000382814600001ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84945162320OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-47042DiVA: diva2:881651