If you're looking to find a typical Washington, D.C. memorial, you're in the wrong place. This past April, the National Park Service and the National Capital Planning Commission asked the public to imagine what Washington, D.C.'s memorials might look like a century from now. Just recently, 30 semi-finalists were chosen for the "ideas competition," called Memorials for the Future.
According to a press release, the semi-finalists were chosen from 89 teams, comprising 309 total participants from eight countries. Each one is meant to honor diverse histories, heritage, and culture and be based in specific places or areas in Washington, D.C.
The top finalists won't be announced until June 8, and the winning team won't be chosen until September 8. Each of the finalist teams will receive a $15,000 stipend to develop their proposals.
Until the big announcement, take a look at five of the coolest proposals below with their original descriptions. To see all of the proposals, go here.
"American Wild virtualizes the National Parks through an interactive, immersive installation. Using ultra-high-definition video, recordings of each 59 natural parks can be projection-mapped at full scale. Audio recordings heighten the visceral experience and establish emotional connections to the landscape. The memorial democratizes National Park access by creating an installation in one of the most economically and racially diverse neighborhoods in the nation’s capital. Full scale, immersive environment design expands access to both phenomenological experience and ecological understanding. In so doing, the memorial reinvigorates the ways in which we interact with the cultural and biological diversity of the American landscape."
"Cultur-altar is a memorial for sacrifice; and a sacrifice of gifts to an altar for humanity.
Initially, the Cultur-altar is a memorial in Eastern Market Park for the artist formerly known as Prince. The Cultur-altar will function as a meeting place for public events, such as public speeches and concerts. Visitors are asked to bring images, letters, and other items of personal significance, regarding the memorialized person, issue, or narrative, to the celebration and cast them into the altar as gifts to humanity. The gifts will be ceremonially burned on the altar, then spread in the form of Prince’s symbol."
"'You are here... elsewhere' is an interactive and participative installation at the crossroads of different video-graphic languages, such as documentaries, animation drawing, video games, interaction, etc. It is a hybrid form giving the viewer a look at public space as an interactive space. The creation of 'You are here...elsewhere' is based on a participative process, an artistic and territorial immersion conducted with the residents. Before the installation, workshops are organized with the residents. It gives the opportunity to place the public in the heart of the creation. Their voices, stories, graphic and pictogram works are incorporated into the installation to create an intimate and participative piece of art."
"Memorial to Public Space investigates and explores public parks as sites for creative historical reflections, remixes, and resonance. The project draws on layers of cultural memory within one of Washington DC’s most storied neighborhood parks with a guiding question: Who could be memorialized in the public space of Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park? Passersby will be invited to respond in a daytime design studio with proposals of digitally-rendered sculptures and curate a procession of spectral light monuments projected around the park at night. Memorial to Public Space is envisioned by Monument Lab, a Philadelphia-based public art and history collective."
"The Pop-up Portal provides a simple and direct proposal for instantly constructing and sharing the collective experience of commemoration from multiple geographical locations, consequently weaving a more inclusive and adaptive network of memorials. Because of the advancement of communication technology and social media today, the impact for each current event is much more far reaching and immediate than the past. The significance of a singular geographical memorial location becomes less important compared to the influence of a series of response network working as a collective organism. The modular immersive system is able to adapt to various environments, allowing it to embrace future technological advancement and the evolving demands of its users."
• New Competition Asks Public to Imagine Next Century's Memorials [Curbed DC]