The Acts of Remembering and Memorializing - Assignment Example

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The main purpose of the artifacts apart from being symbolic of historic past is to provoke the public reaction through the deconstruction of past ideologies and interpretation of the same. Thus the major issues are the historical events and how the artifact connects one to the past…
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The Acts of Remembering and Memorializing
Olson, Finnegan and Hope (2010) strongly assert that acts of remembering and memorializing are distinct in their features like rhetoric past and material practices. They ensure that memories of historically significant events and individuals are kept alive through visual rhetoric artefacts. The main purpose of the artefacts apart from being symbolic of historic past is to provoke public reaction through deconstruction of past ideologies and interpretation of the same. Thus the major issues that are raised when we engage in remembering and memorializing are the historical events and how the artefact connects one to the past. The rhetoric significance of the artefact becomes critical issue that invites fresh interpretations that affect the present and the future. According to Foss (1986), Vietnam Veterans Memorial successfully appeals to the visitors because it not only violates the conventional form and expectations but exploits visitors’ personal experience and evokes memories that are unique.
Foss believes that aesthetic response and rhetoric response are different. Aesthetic response is designed towards providing visitors with pleasant sensory feelings, especially the visual aspects in terms of color, shape, design etc. But the rhetoric response tends to explore hidden meaning to the shape, color and environment. The difference between the two is important because aesthetic and rhetoric responses together give credence to the success of the artefact.They ensure that it serves its basic purpose of remembering and memorialization of past which can be interpreted creatively to connect with present.
According to Blair and Michel (2000), the Civil Rights Memorial performs civil rights tactics because artefact is able to engage visitors and goads them to delve deeper and connect. This is interesting because the artefact is strategically located at Montgomery, Alabama which is rich in civil rights history and on the open plaza which is near to the Church where Martin Luther King served as pastor and where the voting march rights had ended in 1965. Performance plays important role in the remembering and memorializing because the public memorials need to evoke images of the past which should instigate responses from the visitors and engage them into constructive dialogues.Blair and Michel’s ideas closely relate with that of Olson, Finnegan and Hope because they all agree that public memorials impel rhetoric responses which make people interact not only with the artefacts but also with the historical past and relate it with the present.
MLK memorial is distinct not only in its reference with its surrounding but also in its design. The 30 feet high memorial is situated near the National Mall in West Potomac Park, Washington D.C. with inscription of ‘stone of hope’. It is preceded bytwo granite pieces that symbolize ‘mountain of despair’. Thus, visitors pass through mountain of despair and enter into hope, giving them a sense of freedom. The 450 feet long wall has inscriptions of excerpts of King’s sermon and speeches. The statue of King gives impression that he is overlooking the tidal basin. The cherry trees surround the sites that bloom during the death anniversary of King every year. Controversy surrounded the memorial regarding the licencing fee to the King’s family for using the King’s name and his speeches and sermon. I think MLK memorial is important for reminding people that equality across race, culture and color is inherently linked to freedom of thoughts and actions.
Blair, Carole.,& Michel,Neil. (2000). Reproducing Civil Rights Tactics: The Rhetorical Performances of the Civil Rights Memorial. RSQ: Rhetoric Society Quarterly 30(2), 31-55.
Foss, Sonja K. (1986)Ambiguity as Persuasion: TheVietnam Veterans Memorial. CommunicationQuarterly,34, 326-340.
Olson, Lester C., Finnegan, Cara A.,& Hope, Diane S. (eds.). (2010). Visual Rhetoric: A Reader in Communication and American Culture. Southern Communication Journal, 75(5), 547-551. Read More
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