METASITU

 

Memento Loci explores the notion of souvenir culture, and its larger implications at a global scale. We completed this research whilst being theoreticians in residency at das weisse haus in Vienna.

 

Public spaces of touristic enclaves around the world are dotted by interchangeable souvenirs, which far from reflecting on the peculiarities and characteristics of the place, turn them into a commodity of sorts. By removing the memory aspects of these lieux-de-memoire, today’s souvenirs have become medals of visits, the new version of the passport stamp amongst an increasingly mobile class.

 

More than mere trinkets, their scale of production and distribution allow for souvenirs to act as legitimizers of dominant spatial narratives (buildings, persons, slogans) – the very choice of reproducing certain icons.   – while excluding others. They establish a hierarchy of heritage, deeming only certain elements of the built matrix as bearers of social significance.. Thus, souvenirs are sustaining narratives that are projected onto space by certain people within a certain timeframe. For example, in Vienna, most souvenirs available cover a time period that spans 150 years, neglecting the many stories of a city with over 2000 years of history.

 

This notion upholds the idea that through souvenirs, a relationship between the inhabitant or visitor of a given territory and its heritage is established, stressing, furthermore, the importance that these totemic objects have in the social construction and perception of these urban enclaves globally.

 

ECUMENOPOLIS

MEMENTO LOCI

Unfolding spatial power narratives through souvenirs

Video Essay/8’54’’ ----- 2015

US