Sinopse

Welcome to Monument Lab, a public art and history podcast. Each episode, host Paul Farber explores stories and critical conversations around the past, present, and future of monuments. We speak to the artists, activists, and historians on the frontlines, building the next generation of public spaces through stories of social justice and equity. Here are the monumental people, places, and ideas of our time.

Episódios

  • Monumental “Local Diaspora” in St. Louis with MADAD’s Damon Davis, Mallory Rukhsana Nezam, and De Nichols

    Monumental “Local Diaspora” in St. Louis with MADAD’s Damon Davis, Mallory Rukhsana Nezam, and De Nichols

    21/07/2020 Duração: 54min

    Welcome back to the Monument Lab podcast. This episode, we focus on St. Louis. For the past two years, Monument Lab has worked closely with the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, mapping monuments in St. Louis. That includes traditional landmarks and unofficial sites of memory, whether they are existing, potential, or erased. To mark the close of our project together, we wanted to speak with locally-rooted MADAD, a brilliant and thoughtful collective of artists and designers from St. Louis whose work illuminates spatial injustice and cultural memory gaps in the region.MADAD’s Damon Davis, Mallory Rukhsana Nezam, and De Nichols work to reimagine how joy, justice, and interactivity improve public spaces. The group started their collaborations during the making of Mirror Casket, a sculpture, performance, and visual call to action composed in the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. Mirror Casket is now in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.Th

  • Museums are Not Neutral with Movement Co-Founders La Tanya S. Autry and Mike Murawski

    Museums are Not Neutral with Movement Co-Founders La Tanya S. Autry and Mike Murawski

    14/05/2020 Duração: 01h22s

    The phrase “Museums Are Not Neutral” is both a hashtag and the rallying words of a movement. This mantra has already changed the way museums around the world are visited, curated, and protested. Amplified by our guests Art Worker La Tanya S. Autry and Museum Educator Mike Murawski, the hashtag #MuseumsAreNotNeutral has been engaged more than a million times online by museum curators and educators, and by colleagues in related fields like libraries and archives. As Autry, who is employed at MOCA Cleveland as the Gund Curatorial Fellow, notes, “I love the expression because it's simple. It's right to the point. I'm actually wearing one of my Museums Are Not Neutral shorts right now and I'm really proud to wear. I do feel like it's in a way a type of armor. It's like this is going to protect me today when I go out there and it lets people know I'm about no nonsense. I'm wearing this message right across my heart and I really mean it.” Across America and overseas, Museums are Not Neutral is changing the way we th

  • Commemorating the 1918 Flu Pandemic with Mütter Museum Organizer Nancy Hill

    Commemorating the 1918 Flu Pandemic with Mütter Museum Organizer Nancy Hill

    07/05/2020 Duração: 50min

    What do you do when you’re fighting for survival and balancing grief on a societal level at the same time? This is a question many of us are facing now and asking ourselves in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the historical reference points we can access are stories from the 1918 Flu Epidemic. Dubbed the Spanish Flu, the deadly pandemic killed at least 50 million people worldwide, including a half a million in the United States. These numbers can sound abstract, or worse, like cold statistics.  It is hard to fathom such loss.We also know that the 1918 pandemic coincided with World War I and deeply impacted military operations worldwide. More American troops died from the virus than in combat. But there are few monuments and memorials to victims of the Pandemic in the United States. No statue, no historical marker even in Philadelphia, one of the hardest hit cities in the U.S., where 20,000 people died of the Flu. This includes my great-great-grandmother.Our guest on this episode, Nancy Hill, one of

  • Word Sound Power: A Self Determined Lexicon for Commemorative Justice with Historical Strategist Free Egunfemi Bangura

    Word Sound Power: A Self Determined Lexicon for Commemorative Justice with Historical Strategist Free Egunfemi Bangura

    28/04/2020 Duração: 01h09min

    In Richmond, Virginia, you encounter monuments, old and new – on Monument Avenue one-hundred-year-old Confederate generals stand alongside, since 1996, a statue honoring African American Tennis icon Arthur Ashe. Nearby, Kehinde Wiley’s new statue, Rumours of War, sits outside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a new permanent sculpture moved there following its premiere in New York’s Times Square last year. But the makeup of Monument Avenue may soon change. Just in the last few days, and after years of activism and organizing across the state, Governor Ralph Northam signed a Confederate Monuments Bill. Starting in summer 2020, local municipalities in Virginia can remove, relocate or contextualize monuments as they see fit.Last year, in anticipation of the shifts at the state level, Richmond’s Mayor Levar Stoney convened a History and Culture Commission. Its chair, Free Egunfemi Bangura, our guest today, is a tactical urbanist who founded Untold RVA. She pursues ways to memorialize beyond bronze and marble. Ban

  • Bearing Witness in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands with Conservationist Laiken Jordahl

    Bearing Witness in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands with Conservationist Laiken Jordahl

    15/04/2020 Duração: 39min

    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a staggering number of businesses and much of our public life are paused across the country in the interest of health and safety. There is one place where activity has amped up since the shutdowns – construction sites along the U.S. Mexico border. Our guest is conservationist Laiken Jordahl, who works as a campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity near Arizona’s Organ Pipe National Monument. He documents the heightened activity of border wall construction on National Park land, which sits next to the Tohono O'odham tribal nation reservation and encompasses a UNESCO bioreserve.Jordahl posts on-the-ground reports and footage to his Twitter feed. He shares evidence of the Trump Administration’s disregard for federal Environmental Protections and the desecration of Native American heritage sites. He notes the Administration attempts to complete broad sections of the wall ahead of the election – and in the middle of the pandemic.As Jordahl shares, “This crisis has bro

  • No Return to Normal with Artist Mel Chin

    No Return to Normal with Artist Mel Chin

    08/04/2020 Duração: 45min

    In times of crisis, in times of connection, artist Mel Chin makes his mark. A 2019 MacArthur Genius Award recipient, Chin’s artwork has been featured in major museums and biennials, in Times Square, the Halls of Congress, the TV show Melrose Place, and Monument Lab’s 2017 exhibition in the middle of Philadelphia’s City Hall. When you see Chin at work, you encounter an artist with purpose, with an eye toward building others up.“I think the lesson from all those situations and this situation is how to exercise self-critique and empathy. How do you have to rekindle it for each situation,” says Mel Chin.This episode, we speak to Chin, during the time of self-isolation and quarantine for COVID-19. We discuss how he and other artists stay connected. We also discuss how his new S.O.U.R.C.E. Studio has a fellowship for women, trans, and non-binary artists to spend time developing their craft. Plus, we hear about when he discovered that he won the prestigious MacArthur Genius award.

  • Reclaimed Water CCd With Nicole Awai New Monuments for New Cities Part 2

    Reclaimed Water CC'd With Nicole Awai; New Monuments for New Cities Part 2

    04/10/2019 Duração: 38min

    When looking for monuments, most of the time we look up. But many artists have employed other strategies, from the ground up, to use concrete, bricks, or infrastructure to make their presence felt. Nicole Awai did just that . She is an artist and educator, born in Trinidad, based in NYC and Austin, where she teaches at the University of Austin. She was walking down the street and got hit with inspiration for a monument proposal poster that takes on the legacies of Columbus, colonialism, and the dialectic of exploration and exploitation. “All of a sudden, I saw it. I saw this access grill point as in the shape of Columbus that said "Reclaimed Water" on it, and that had Columbus's name on the bottom.” The result, Awai’s monument proposal, Reclaimed Water CC’d, engages the question of what to do with the role of Columbus. Awai’s Reclaimed Water CC’d is included in the High Line Joint Art Network’s New Monuments for New Cities. Over the last six months, Monument Lab has been research residents of this p

  • Public Noise with Paul Ramírez Jonas New Monuments for New Cities Part 1

    Public Noise with Paul Ramírez Jonas; New Monuments for New Cities Part 1

    04/10/2019 Duração: 41min

    When you think of monuments and public art projects that provoke, that are critical and participatory, you think of Paul Ramírez Jonas. Born in California, raised in Honduras, and now a professor at New York’s Hunter College, he has produced renowned projects including Keys to the City, Public Trust, and the Commons, which have been huge inspirations to me and Monument Lab. Ask him to name traditional styles of monuments going back to antiquity, he can give you studied and detailed response – but he can also point you to projects of his that reinvent the form and expectations for participatory monuments. “I just had this moment where I realized, if you turn a monument inside-out, a sculptural monument, it becomes a theater,” he says. We speak to Paul Ramírez Jonas about the idea of Public Noise, a new proposal where he inverts the idea of an equestrian monument and presents a stage for debating what it means to occupy and tangle with public space. Ramirez Jonas made Public Noise as a part of the High Line Joi

  • Expanding Monuments with Regina Agu New Monuments for New Cities Part 5

    Expanding Monuments with Regina Agu; New Monuments for New Cities Part 5

    04/10/2019 Duração: 39min

    Regina Agu has been researching and engaging green spaces in Houston, including Emancipation Park, especially to understand the legacy of communities of color in these spaces. As an artist, in a city where zoning laws, or lack thereof, impacts preservation, Agu also has seen the ways artists are on the forefront of innovating around and along with those parameters. As she notes, “I think that artists in Houston are actually quite vocal, some of them more vocal constituents who are really thinking through, ‘Okay, what can historic preservation look like given the policies and rules on the books in Houston?’” Agu has been a visiting artist and resident of Project Row Houses and the University of Houston, where she studied the psychogeography of Emanciaption Park. She has witnessed the aftermath of monument takedowns in New Orleans, and seen firsthand how artists can take the lead in reclaiming, re-naming, public spaces. Agu’s project Expanding Monuments is included in the High Line Joint Art Network’s New Monum

  • Missing Democracy with Coco Guzman New Monuments for New Cities Part 3

    Missing Democracy with Coco Guzman; New Monuments for New Cities Part 3

    04/10/2019 Duração: 35min

    Over the last few months, it has been a treat to get to know Coco Guzman, a Spanish-Canadian queer artist based in Toronto. Guzman draws, documents, and gathers stories that are public and intimate. They created Missing Democracy – modeled after pet posters posted on utility poles and community bulletin boards – where a Grumpy Cat stands in for democracy. “She's old and grumpy because of too many upsetting and or fake news,” says Guzman. We speak with Guzman about their approach to working on and in public spaces, especially to deal with memory as monumental in subtle, purposeful ways. Guzman adds, “I think what is interesting is to figure out if you're not an artist and if you're not an activist, how can you leave traces of yourself in the public space? In a way that is not being co-opted.” Guzman’s Missing Democracy is a part of the High Line Joint Art Network’s New Monuments for New Cities. Over the last six months, Monument Lab has been research residents of this project and we are speaking with artists f

  • Monument to Lucy Gonzalez Parsons with Eric García New Monuments for New Cities Part 4

    Monument to Lucy Gonzalez Parsons with Eric García; New Monuments for New Cities Part 4

    04/10/2019 Duração: 35min

    Lady Liberty, Uncle Sam, two figures who show up often as stand-ins for American politics in editorial cartoons and graphic narratives. But read between the images and the lines, and you can see how those symbols evolve with artists incorporating them to take on challenges of democracy. For artist, Eric García, based in Chicago, be brings these and other symbolic characters out in his work to engage nationalism, white supremacy, and exclusion. For his recent monumental poster, Monument to Lucy Gonzalez Parsons, he highlights a historical figure worthy of more spotlight, Lucy Gonzalez Parsons, a labor leader and anarchist organizer from Chicago whose impact on the history of labor is astounding. As García shares, “The five-day work week with the weekend, these are all monumental laws that we don't even realize, they're intricate in the workforce nowadays. And yeah, she was a heroine that a lot of people need to know about. And not many people do. The whole holiday of May Day was born out of, right here in the

  • “Not Peaceable and Quiet” with Counterpublic Artists with Matt Joynt, Anthony Romero, and Josh Rios

    “Not Peaceable and Quiet” with Counterpublic Artists with Matt Joynt, Anthony Romero, and Josh Rios

    19/06/2019 Duração: 54min

    This episode of Monument Lab, we recorded live from the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, where Monument Lab has a research residency this summer. As a part of Public Iconographies, we are mapping monuments of St. Louis with a research team at the museum, in parks, and public spaces around the whole city, as a part of the Pulitzer’s Striking Power exhibition. To kickoff this project, we spoke to a trio of artists – Matt Joynt, Anthony Romero, and Josh Rios – as they prepared for their own exercise in mapping. Their project, Not Peaceable and Quiet (Piñata Sound System), includes the outfitting of a bike with a booming sound system and other purposeful flair. It is part of the Counterpublic neighborhood triennal in St. Louis on and around Cherokee Street, organized by the Luminary. The artists call it a “counter monument.” It takes up space, physically, and also is fully realized when participants pedal it around, moving the soundtrack with them. Not Peaceable and Quiet doesn’t just use any bike – they tr

  • Erasing the Border and the Wall in Our Heads with Social Sculptor Ana Teresa Fernández

    Erasing the Border and the Wall in Our Heads with Social Sculptor Ana Teresa Fernández

    07/06/2019 Duração: 01h10s

    This week, news leaked of the Trump administration’s deployment of an unspecified number of military service members to paint stretches of the border reinforcements in the California town of Calexico. The goal: to improve the border’s "aesthetic appearance." There’s precedent to this. Wall builders go to great lengths to hide and distract from the brutality of border walls. For example, during the Cold War, the East German government ordered the Berlin Wall to be fully rebuilt more than once for the purpose of gaining prestige. That was before visual artists transformed that wall into the world’s largest canvas for expressions of resistance. For contemporary artist Ana Teresa Fernández, the idea of painting the U.S.-Mexico border is not new. Fernández is a renowned artist and social sculptor. She was born in Mexico and is based in California. Back in 2011, she painted stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border fence blue to resemble the color of the sky for a project she called Borrando La Frontera (Erasin

  • The New Gatekeepers: Will Google decide how we remember Syria’s Civil War?

    The New Gatekeepers: Will Google decide how we remember Syria’s Civil War?

    01/05/2019 Duração: 01h06min

    On Monument Lab’s bulletin, we recently published “The New Gatekeepers: Will Google Decide How We Remember Syria's Civil War.” Written by Global Voices Advocacy Director Ellery Roberts Biddle, “The New Gatekeepers” examines how big tech companies like Google and Facebook are shaping our view of the historical record of war atrocities and other traumatic events. These companies increasingly use artificial intelligence to handle and sometimes censor shared content on social media posted from the frontlines of conflict zones, impacting how we learn about and will remember historical events. In her roles at Global Voices and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Roberts Biddle reports on and defends the rights of journalists around the world. For Monument Lab, Roberts Biddle looked specifically at a counter example, the case of the Syrian Archive, a Syrian-led group of technologists based in Berlin, seeking to organize and backup more than five million images and video files sha

  • Up With Ida: A Monumental Teach-In for Ida B. Wells at the University of Mississippi

    Up With Ida: A Monumental Teach-In for Ida B. Wells at the University of Mississippi

    03/04/2019 Duração: 56min

    Ida B. Wells was an investigative journalist, an educator, a suffragist, a truth teller. She was born in Holly Spring, Mississippi in 1862. As an African American woman, she moved to Memphis and then Chicago, as she built a national reputation for her civil rights work. She reported and revealed the horrors of lynching in pamphlets and publications including Southern Horrors and The Red Record. Today, her great-granddaughter, author Michelle Duster, carries on her legacy. She has retraced Wells’ footsteps in the pursuit of justice, including leading efforts in the city of Chicago to dedicate the new Ida B. Wells Drive and to fundraise for a monument to her late great-grandmother in the city’s Bronzeville section. This week, Duster travels to the University of Mississippi, where scholars and students have organized the Ida B Wells Teach In: A Monument to Justice. We speak with Duster, and two of the organizers, History Professor Garrett Felber and graduate student Beth Kruse. The event was planned in response

  • In Pursuit of the Confederate Truce Flag with Artist Sonya Clark

    In Pursuit of the Confederate Truce Flag with Artist Sonya Clark

    27/03/2019 Duração: 01h25min

    The Confederate Truce Flag is a little known piece of Americana. It was flown as a white flag of surrender and delivered to the Appomattox Court House, Virginia in April 1865. A piece of it is owned by Smithsonian. It is not as iconic as the Confederate Battle Flag. Artist Sonya Clark wants to change that through her new exhibition Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know at Philadelphia’s Fabric Workshop and Museum.

  • Climbing the Statue of Liberty and Fighting Immigrant Family Separation with activist Patricia Okoumou

    Climbing the Statue of Liberty and Fighting Immigrant Family Separation with activist Patricia Okoumou

    13/03/2019 Duração: 01h09min

    This episode of Monument Lab features activist Patricia Okoumou, widely known as the woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 2018. Okoumou ascended the base of the statue as a direct action against the Trump Administration’s harsh and inhumane tactics of family separation at the US-Mexico border. Okoumou will be sentenced on charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct, and interference with agency functions. In the days before her sentencing, we spoke with Okoumou from Staten Island. She offered detailed accounts of her time on the monument, her time spent recently near the US-Mexico border, and her climbs on other symbols of power — the Eiffel Tower and the headquarters of a For-Profit Immigrant Detention Center operator in Austin Texas. She also shared glimpses into her broader struggle to end family separation.

  • Creating a Record of California Wildfires and Climate Change with Photographer Stuart Palley

    Creating a Record of California Wildfires and Climate Change with Photographer Stuart Palley

    06/03/2019 Duração: 58min

    In November 2018, a series of violent fires throttled California and its surrounding landscape. Outside of Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire resulted in a three casualties and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of residents. The Camp Fire, decimated the town of Paradise in Northern California, a small retirement community, which killed at least 85 people and cause 16 billion dollars in damage. It is one of the deadliest natural and social disasters on U.S. soil. This episode of Monument Lab our guest is Photographer Stuart Palley, a photographer of the wildfires. We found Palley through his Instagram page, where during the Woolsey and Camp Fires, he shared daily updates from the frontlines, alongside firefighters, and later, search and rescue teams. Palley is creating a record of wildfires and climate change, tracing how hotter, drier conditions on the ground increase the risk of fire. Palley has photographed for National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Tim

  • There’s a Spirit in Everything” with Scholars Salamishah Tillet and Grace Sanders Johnson Live from the Free Library of Philadelphia

    There’s a Spirit in Everything” with Scholars Salamishah Tillet and Grace Sanders Johnson Live from the Free Library of Philadelphia

    20/02/2019 Duração: 01h22min

    This episode features two brilliant scholar-artist-activists Salamishah Tillet and Grace Sanders Johnson. It was recorded live from the Free Library of Philadelphia as a part of the 2019 One Book One Philadelphia festival. Tillet and Sanders Johnson have been friends of Monument Lab since the beginning, actually before the beginning. Tillet as a mentor, Sanders Johnson as a graduate school classmate and writing partner of host Paul Farber. Together, they spoke about how they approach memory in their works, what kind of archives and artworks haunt and/or inspire them, and how history lives in the present. Tillet is Professor of African American and African Studies and Creative Writing, as well as Associate Director of the Clement Price Institute at Rutgers University–Newark. She is also the Founding Faculty Director of the New Arts Justice Initiative at Express Newark and Co-Founder of A Long Walk Home. Tillet regularly publishes as a critic in the New York Times. She is the author of Sites of Slavery: Citize

  • Taking Down the Columbus Statue in Downtown L.A. with Organizer Chrissie Castro

    Taking Down the Columbus Statue in Downtown L.A. with Organizer Chrissie Castro

    29/11/2018 Duração: 42min

    On November 10, 2018, a statue of Christopher Columbus was taken down in LA’s grant park. City officials and members of LA’s Native American Indian Commission were present to watch. Hundreds gathered to witness the takedown. Chrissie Castro, vice chair of the commission, was there. “After, decades of demonstration and protests, and dialogue," shares Castro, "it was very emotional when the statue finally came down. You know, we had singers. Folks were clapping and yelling. And it was just a sense of release, of finally being heard; finally being heard.“ On this episode of Monument Lab, Castro shares insights behind the takedown, which was not an isolated event, but a larger part of a decades-long struggle for advocacy and representation among LA's diverse indigenous communities. Last year, Castro was one of the leaders behind the city’s official change from recognizing Columbus Day to its new title, Indigenous People’s Day. She also reflects on her history as an organizer, her work with the city, and

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