11|²11 Germany surrenders, r°|æ|paration value standarts -Kunst‘ Bioethic & realm of EurophanaTT:ism allies of Defamation Union [|4|]

Mali Masjid

Mourning is a process of decathexis, or separation from the lost object or person, which frees up psychic energy to reconnect with other things and people. Mourning also enables the mourner to retain an image of the lost object or person as a guiding force.

The monumental function of architecture included mourning, understood as the collective version of the psychology of identification—the formation of the superego in an individual through the internalization (introjection) of ego-ideals. Monumentality was responsible for maintaining a sense of national identity from one generation to the next (hence the mourning by one generation for the loss of the previous generation, back to the Founding Fathers). (Ulmer, Lusitania 10)


Paradoxically, death and loss allow for life. The philosopher Peter Steeves discusses this paradox in Heidegger’s work. In the river Lethe, living things are made to forget as they cross over. Logos is understood as truth, but literally it is the unforgotten. Heidegger is concerned about what we are forgetting when we remember something else. The Enlightenment created a situation in which the lights are always on and there is no sleep. When everything is in books and nothing is forgotten, there is no wisdom, only information.

This is the risk of perpetual wakefulness, perpetual life: madness. And it is the legacy of the Renaissance. With light shown everywhere—the light of reason, the stage set for the Enlightenment’s light of knowledge—the Dark Ages were over, but at what cost? With the lights always on, no one ever sleeps. How can one conceal oneself before that which never sets? Knowledge at all costs, the banishment of forgetting. It was, as well, the era of movable type, the era of the book: everything would be stored, nothing would be forgotten again. The conceit of the Renaissance was in thinking aletheia, thinking that the truth is found only in the light, in the unconcealing. But aletheia produces insomnia. The light of Reason never dims, and we grow weary. The persistence of memory leads only to warped time, barren landscapes, and madness. (Steeves 191)

As Steeves reminds us, there is some benefit to the living in loss and death. The implementation of the monument to lost data aims to give mourners back some psychic energy so that we can accept loss and connect to the world as it is now.

15 The how of memorializing—theorizing, designing, and implementing new monuments and mourning practices—constitutes the bulk of Ulmer’s book and is the focus of the present essay devoted to the implementation of a particular monument: a monument to lost data. Implementation requires an understanding of monuments‘ social and informational structures.

16 Monuments may contain elements of historical narrative or arguments about right and wrong, but these things alone do not make a monument. A monument is a special kind of archive that makes possible the transformation of loss into sacrifice. A sacrifice is a loss on behalf of something, usually abstract („our soldiers died for our freedom“). A monument may designate a loss as a sacrifice whether or not it would have been understood as such by the dead or by the grieving (e.g. those early Pilgrims who died in their settlements could not have considered themselves sacrifices on behalf of an American nation that did not yet exist, yet schoolchildren are taught that their sacrifice was essential to the future of the nation).

17 The history of monuments reveals transformation and adaptation. Alois Riegl, charged with creating policy related to monuments in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, „traced a historical development from the ‚intentional monument‘ whose significance is determined by its makers, to the ‚unintentional monument,‘ a product of later events.“ (Nelson and Olin 2). In the United States, we have examples of each: the Vietnam Veterans‘ Memorial Wall and Ground Zero of the WTC attacks. Nelson and Olin make the point that we are seeing, increasingly, examples of the latter. Ulmer’s work suggests that there is more we can invent.

18 One type of intentional monument Ulmer suggests is an „asterisk“ (Ulmer, Lusitania 11). The asterisk is attached to an existing monument.

1) The genre for electronic monuments [is] defined as follows: a) select an existing monument, memorial, celebration; b) select an organization, agency, or other official body as the recipient of the consultation; c) select a theory as the source for the rationale; d) include electronic technology in some way. The new monument is an electronic „asterisk“ noting a revision of the existing monument. (Ulmer, Lusitania 11)

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