Eternal or Obsolete? Overcoming the Dichotomy between Preservation and Destruction in the Anthropocentric Epoch

Today, certain buildings are erected or selected to become monuments, to be preserved for eternity and transmitted to future generations, while others, devoid of value, without apparent collective memory, are abandoned, destroyed and reduced to rubble. In fact, a culture of memory takes place in the face of various intentional destructive processes.

Thus, are destruction, loss and amnesia the prerequisite of memory? Does the monument and its preservation really prevent us from forgetting? What becomes its role in uncertain times? This thesis questions the notion of monumentality and the idea of permanence, certainty or beauty inscribed in its materiality. It explores artistic practices that bring into dialogue heritage and waste as well as memory and oblivion in order to reconceptualize the monument.

Therefore, this dissertation establishes a discourse analysis on how architectural preservation is bound to a narrative of loss and destruction. It further investigates the role of art as mediator of unseen narratives embodied in architecture and as catalyst to favor critical engagements. The aim is to reveal the need to constantly reinvent and update the monument through new aesthetic means.

Researcher: Elise Kleitz