Making Repulsive Monuments
Gregory Ulmer, Monuments, Curating, Climate Change, Civil War, Confederacy
The repulsive monument, a genre created by Gregory Ulmer, samples heterogenous materials from archives and curates these materials in provocative ways. Such monuments are repulsive because they memorialize the abject: losses resulting from the collective’s behaviors but disowned by the collective. Repulsive monuments provide a platform for ordinary people to become “citizen curators” who investigate personal and collective memory in order to reveal the relationships between our values, behaviors, and losses. Repulsive monuments recognize as sacred those abject losses that result from our behaviors. By accepting and honoring such losses, we make possible the re-configuration of our identity and our values. Repulsive monuments treat abject losses as sacrifices made on behalf of collective well-being. Thus they re-situate our behaviors and losses from the mundane to the sacred realm. Georges Bataille explains that the sacred realm, which is at the core of identity, is governed by affective forces rather than by reasoned calculation.
College of Arts and Humanities
Orlando (Main) Campus
Mauer, Barry J. and Venecek, John, "Making Repulsive Monuments" (2016). Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works. 602.