In memoriam to those injured or killed on Victorian roads, this conceptual exploration touches on the metaphysical bridges between our lived and spiritual worlds. Designed by a multidisciplinary team and led by a landscape architect, the project combined practitioners with backgrounds in landscape architecture, jewellery design, digital media, art and architecture.
The design was expressed in three commemorative streams: a traditional public memorial consisting of a proposed walkway on the western edge of Flagstaff Gardens in Melbourne, a delicate private memorial in the form of a tiny copper gift, and a virtual memorial on a website.
One particular stream, the exquisitely formed copper gift and its white container, is reminiscent of a haiku landscape. Made from an everlasting metal and able to be worn or displayed in a personal space, it is a minimal yet potent symbol that would greatly assist someone grieving from a road trauma experience. The oxidized copper finish registers time, changing from dull to shiny as it is held, worn or carried.
The Memorial for People Killed and Injured on Victorian Roads is part of The Road Trauma Memorial Project commissioned by the Design Research Institute, RMIT University, Road Trauma Support Services (Victoria) and the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.
The memorial required an innovative integration of a private memorial, a permanent public memorial and a virtual memorial. Designed by a transdisciplinary project team and led by a landscape architect, it combined practitioners with backgrounds in landscape architecture, jewellery, digital innovation, art and architecture.
French historian Pierre Nora suggests we are in “an age of commemoration” at a time when the only constant is continual transformation. The memorial design approach emphasizes remembering as an engaged, participatory activity through a series of everyday and immersive landscapes that focus on sensation, reconnecting the body with the city.
The memorial is in three parts, “A Gift,” “A Walk” and “A Web.” “A Gift” is a personalized, private memorial given to those affected by road trauma. In two parts, it’s a handmade, pebble-like copper keepsake melted in a crucible (the ceramic box). Copper was chosen because it retains heat well in the hand and is affordable. The oxidized finish registers time, changing from dull to shiny as it is held, worn or carried.
“A Walk” is a public permanent memorial combining a central Melbourne space with a system of distributed memorials extending across Victoria. It is is an everyday immersive experience, a sequence of moments located in a highly visible part of the city. It reinforces the presence of absence through sensation – movement and perception at speed.
“A Web” is a virtual memorial response that acknowledges the increasing use of the internet as a dominant mode of communication with the potential to integrate and connect.
Published online: 23 Sep 2011
Words: 2011 Unlandscaped Jury
Landscape Architecture Australia, May 2011