Meredith Drum

Monument Public Address System

 

ABSTRACT 

Monument Public Address System is a mobile augmented reality (AR) app that superimposes audio and visual narratives of justice, liberation, and inclusion onto existing Confederate monuments and sites where monuments have been removed. Issues of race, memorialization and the public memory of slavery, and colonial oppression are especially lively, especially important right now. A series of tragic murders of Black Americans over the last ten years sparked the Black Lives Matter movement and accelerated international reckoning with histories and symbols of racism, slavery, and colonialism. For decades experts and lay-people have discussed the possible relationships between systemic racism and Civil War memorials. Now, these debates have come to a boil.

Utilizing the emerging technology of mobile AR, this work critiques colonial and confederate histories memorialized through public art as part of 600 years of political structures responsible for genocide, enslavement, oppression, disenfranchisement and imprisonment. In creating Monument Public Address System, I aim to engender critical and thoughtful social experiences in public spaces through the presentation of narratives that offer truth and justice-centered perspectives, as well as anti-racist visions for our shared future.

The AR project-design encourages participants to explore Confederate monuments, and the empty spaces where monuments once stood, as they interact with virtual visual materials and listen to segments of personal histories. These personal histories are edited from longer interviews that I have been conducting with community organizers, students, professors, artists, writers, activists, legislators, city planners, architects, city council members, and a multitude of other citizens. The narratives reveal the struggles, triumphs, and everyday experiences of prejudice, discrimination, and justice that these individuals have experienced placed in relation to the public memorialization of Confederate history.

KEYWORDS

Augmented Reality, Black Lives Matter, Colonial Monuments, Confederate Monuments, Digital Art, Interactivity, Mobile Media, Memory, Postcolonialism, Spatial Politics, Virtual Reality

MODALITY

VIDEO CREATION

SECTION

SPACES - DEVICES

BIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCE

Meredith Drum is an interdisciplinary visual artist working with video, mobile augmented reality, animation and various forms of public art. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Technologies at Virginia Tech.