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Collective Grief: The Design, Politics, and Future of Memorials

  • EFA Project Space 323 W. 39th Street, 2nd floor New York, NY 10018 USA (map)

A panel discussion co-presented by Reimagine End of Life.

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While grief is a personal feeling, memorials are a key way in which our society collectively mourns. This panel discussion will consider the different forms that such public tributes can take and the politics of who gets to be commemorated. What new memorials are being created to fill out the landscape of a death-denying country dotted with Confederate statues? What future ones do we need? The four panelists, Anthony Goicolea, Melinda Hunt, Karla Rothstein, and Elizabeth Velazquez, have all experimented with what a memorial can be, bringing their creative energies to bear on an old practice. They will speak about their work and then engage in a conversation about who, what, and how we collectively remember. Moderated by Jillian Steinhauer.

Event Image:
DeathLAB: Democratizing Death, Perpetual Constellation sakura viewing, Tokyo.

Image courtesy of Columbia University GSAPP DeathLAB and LATENT Productions

Panelist Bios:

Anthony Goicolea is a New York based multi-disciplinary artist who established his career in the late 1990s with a series of provocative self-portraits. His work ranges from photography, sculpture, and video, to multi-layered paintings on Mylar and large-scale installations. His work is held in many public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as the Hirshorn Museum in D.C., the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; 21C Museum in Louisville KY, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in NY. He recently unveiled the LGBT Memorial in the located in the Hudson River Park at West 12th Street in NYC. 

Melinda Hunt is an interdisciplinary artist and founding director of the Hart Island Project. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Art (1985), film (200), and electronic art (2011). She received Canada Council Interarts Awards (2008, 2009, 2017, 2018) and a NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship in 2017. She directed the development of Traveling Cloud Museum produce in collaboration with Studio AIRPORT and Inspire Innovation in the Netherlands. She has recently launched a creative initiative to recover the identities of AIDS victims buried on Hart Island.

Karla Rothstein is the founder and director of Columbia University’s DeathLAB, a cross-disciplinary research and design initiative housed at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation where she has taught design studios for twenty years. An 8-month solo exhibition in 2018-19 at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa Japan, DeathLAB: Democratizing Death, featured the lab’s research, design proposals, and interviews. Rothstein’s work at DeathLAB has been supported by the MacDowell Colony, Columbia’s Earth Institute, The Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life, The Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Art Omi, Kanazawa 21C, and Columbia GSAPP. Rothstein is a practicing architect, co-founder and design director at LATENT Productions. Current building projects include 25 units of affordable housing in Brooklyn NY, remediation of brownfield conditions and the revivification of a 9-acre, 240,000 SF former cotton-spinning campus in the Berkshires, and a meandering vertical urban oasis for a private client.

Elizabeth Velazquez creates mixed-media sculptural works, installations and rituals. Elizabeth currently lives in Queens, NY. She is one of the founding members of SEQAA (Southeast Queens Artist Alliance), whose current project, a mobile zine cart/mobile workshop space, received funding from a QCA grant. Ms. Velazquez was awarded a 6-month residency at Cigar Factory in LIC, culminating in a two-person show in that very unique space. Ms. Velazquez was a participating artist in Reimagine End of Life for which she created a ritual in memory of Rose Butler and those who remain buried below Washington Square Park. Elizabeth will be traveling to Jerusalem for the month of July as part of the apexart International Fellowship.