This week the name of the game was spatial history. I had a moment of recollection about how the politics and economics really dictate the narrative when it comes to restoration, memorialization, and space. In many ways we fight political battles over the memory of spaces, and as my MA cognate explored, capital always wins.
There are such thing as popular memorial space. These are unofficial memorials that co-opt space. If you visit the area of a recent disaster you might see this. Pictures of the lost, mementos left behind, letters, ribbons, flowers, candles, you know the deal. At Oklahoma City they are a constant presence at the site, so much so that the staff on the grounds actually collect them and store them for a number of years. The 9/11 memorial was not forthcoming about what it does with such things, but the newspapers showed that these memorials were all over the place.
This is where the project we discussed in groups really makes me excited. What if these spaces for people's memorials could be preserved as an augmented reality program? It would be important for those without money to remember and memorialize space that capital would otherwise take from them.
For example, I was recently in the city of Richmond, Virginia. The money of the wealthy donors and the state's heritage organization felt that a multi-million dollar confederate White house and museum of the confederacy were worthwhile investments. However, there is a spot where slaves too sick for sale when they arrived in Richmond, honoured with a plaque in a parking lot.
I would love in our AR near future, for people who want to honour heritage, but don't have wealthy donors, like some volunteers for Black Lives Matter to make an interactive memorial and museum on that spot. One that revisionist historians can't alter. I would hope that when we have alternative place that can't be vandalized, underfunded, or paved over, we could cultivate a very different notion of place and importance.