Thanatopolis Symposium (3/15/10, revised 5/31/10)


Symposium Panelists
Ashton Allan, Washington, DC Designer, Architect Architect, STUDIOS Architecture ashtonallan.com www.studiosarchitecture.com José Balcells, Valparaíso, Chile Sculptor, Professor Founding Member, Ciudad Abierta, Ritoque, Chile Professor of Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso www.amereida.cl/ciudad-abierta/campus www.profesores.ucv.cl/josebalcells Sharon Fogarty, New York, NY Artistic Director, Professor Co-Artistic Director, Mabou Mines Assistant Professor of Theater, Barnard College www.maboumines.org François Fréchet, Monbazillac, France Environmental Sculptor/Soft Architecture/Landscape Design Officer, AiNIN (Artists in Nature International Network) pagesperso-orange.fr/francois.frechet Cornelia Konrads, Bad Münder, Germany Environmental Artist/Landscape Design www.cokonrads.de/ Michael Nairn, Philadelphia, PA Landscape Architect/Ecological Design, Professor University of Pennsylvania urban.ssc.upenn.edu Diane Wittry, West Orange, NJ Music Director, Conductor Allentown Symphony Orchestra Norwalk Symphony Orchestra www.dianewittry.com www.beyondthebaton.com Please note that, due to illness, W. Gary Smith will not be participating in the Symposium. W. Gary Smith, Austin, TX Landscape Architect, Garden Designer Principal, W. Gary Smith Garden Design www.wgarysmith.com/design
Guest Speakers
* Fitz Patton, New York, NY Composer, Sound Designer www.fitzpatton.com * Lisa Saltzman, Bryn Mawr, PA Professor, Author Professor of History of Art, Bryn Mawr College Director, Center of Visual Culture, Bryn Mawr College www.brynmawr.edu/hart/lsaltzman.html * Note that the Guest Speakers will not be in attendance at the Open Session of the Symposium on July 25.
Symposium Host
Ralph Crispino, Jr., East Haddam, CT Founder, Executive Director The I-Park Foundation, Inc. www.i-park.org
Major Discussion Topics
1 – Introduction of the Thanatopolis Concept – The need for a physical space, a public space – Primacy of the immediate surviving generation – Cultural relevance – Aesthetics – Thanatopolis within the I-Park master plan – Integrating the creative disciplines 2 – Memory in the Sacred Space: The Thanatopolis Proposition – Sympathetic surroundings – Complexity versus simplicity – Distortion, misdirection, camouflage, illusion – Subjective versus universal evocations, the scourge of symbolism – Receptivity to memory: humility, ennoblement, associations – Enhanced contemplation, reflection – Attenuation of memory – Memory as a means of discovery – Sequencing, intervals, cycles – Advances in neuroscience 3 – Landscapes of Memory: Sites, Non-Sites and the Possibilities of Place Guest Speaker: Lisa Saltzman 4 – The Living Memorial: The Thanatopolis Proposition – Individual memorials – The Gaudi Memorial: abstraction versus specificity – The Affinity Memorial – The role of the garden and the natural landscape – Event memorialization, commemoration – Cremated remains versus the cenotaph – Interactivity – Ephemeral memorials 5 – Materials: The Thanatopolis Proposition – Permanence versus impermanence, including maintenance considerations – Decomposition as a design element – Soft Architecture: ceramics, wood, masonry, glass, resins, bone, metals, brownstone – Tensile structures – Temporary structures – The super wild, gnarly, garden – ‘editing’ the existing landscape (a Bill of Rights) – Architectural glass, cast/wrought iron canopies, shrouds 6 – Overview: Inspiring Memorial Parks from Around the World – Ciudad Abierta (Juan Purcell) – Igualada (Enric Miralles) – Brion-Vega (Carlo Scarpa) – Urbino (Arnaldo Pomodoro), un-built – Mount Auburn, Forest Hills – Montparnasse, Pere Lachaise – Oakland Columbarium – Finisterre 7 – Interment, Anniversary Memorial Service, Dia de los Muertos – Dignity, impact – Ceremony, Performance – Ritual Adieux – Water, fire – Music, Sound Sculpture Tone sequence/Annunciation Processional Memorial composition 8 – Sound-scape of the Sacred Space Guest Speaker: Fitz Patton 9 – Defining the Thanatopolis Space The Character of the Space: – Creating a sacred space: mystery, the sanctum sanctorum, invisible design – Privacy in the public space – Site specificity, deep integration – Proper balance between the natural landscape and the creative interventions – A proper verge between Thanatopolis and other functions/activities at I-Park – Scale, proportion: intimacy, expansiveness (impact on receptiveness to memory) – Egalitarian ethos – Embrace or rejection of tradition/custom – Hang time: physical comfort, a sense of connection/possession The Physical Space: – Ultimate location: current site by the pond, new location across the river, off site? – Incorporating the water, air and subterranean spaces: floating memorials, caves – Demarcation: walls, fencing, screening, gates, vistas – Thanatopolis as a field or as a path/journey? – Environmental preservation: a light footprint on the land 10 – Review of Submissions – Statement of Selection Committee: quantity, quality, responsiveness – Feedback from applicants: concerns, questions, enthusiasm – Presentation of leading submissions 11 – Execution – Sole visionary architect – Design team: memorial park by committee – Curated versus a free-form aesthetic – Organic, participatory development – The Ciudad Abierta method: primacy of the poetic act – The Environmental Art method: primacy of with the site – Architectural approach: primacy of the program – I-Park approach: primacy of music – Digging right in without a plan – seeing what emerges – Partnering with an existing institution – Sustaining the vision – Delegation: trust, like-spiritedness 12 – Integrating the Creative Disciplines: Redux – Achieving consensus – Role of the Selection Committees – Inter-disciplinary collaboration 13 – Giving Shape to the Thanatopolis Exhibition – Achieving a coherent vision for the event, defining measures of success – Generic versus themed memorials – Clarification, simplification of the Thanatopolis concept: establishing an accessible identity and sense of purpose 14 – Practical Considerations – Zoning, land use restrictions – Public perceptions, acceptance: ‘the first one in’ – Economic considerations including opportunities for artists – Creating a destination – I-Park’s core competencies Optional Topics – Thanatopolis Noir Light Garden Light Sculptures Illuminations Fire Art – Waterworks projects – The Angel’s Hopyard: a role for joy, irony? – Re-imaging the eulogy – Pyrotechnical/Percussive Effects – Electronics in the park – Ceremonial pond vessel, carriage – Sound-scape: modifying/enhancing the I-Park din – Children’s section – Historical record of the I-Park grounds: native population, geology, agriculture – Potential connection to the adjoining Foxtown Cemetery – Garden types – Symposium documentation (catalog, video) – Community gardens – How/what to present to the public on Sunday – Handicapped access
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