Stumbling Blocks

Stumbling Blocks
Left: Gunter Demnig’s “stumbling blocks,” laid outside Holocaust victims’ homes
Right: Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, designed by Peter Eisenman and (originally) Richard Serra
“All memorial processes are exercises in disunity, even as they strive to unify memory.”
James E. Young,
“The Stages of Memory at Ground Zero,” Religion, Violence, Memory and Place
“I’ve long believed that the best way to save the monument, if it’s worth saving at all, is to enlarge its life and texture to include its genesis in historical time, the activity that brings a monument into being, the debates surrounding its origins, its production, its reception, its life in the mind. That is to say, rather than seeing polemics as a by-product of the monument, I would make the polemics surrounding a monument’s existence one of its central, animating features…. 

In Berlin, when asked by the Bundestag in 1997 to explain why I thought Germany’s [initial] international design competition for a national “memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe” had failed, I answered that even if they had failed to produce a monument, the debate itself had produced a profound search for such memory and that it had actually begun to constitute the memorial they so desired.”
James E. Young, “Memory and Monument After 9/11”