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Title: Memory Complex : Competing Visions for a Post-9/11 New York
Author: McKim, Joel A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2685 6181
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis will consider the competing imperatives of past and future that are materialised in five interconnected but distinct architectural sites within the city of New York following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Its principal concern is the manner in which the radical changes to New York's built environment force an encounter between two traditions of thought previously held to be distinct, if not directly opposed. The design challenges currently facing the city have initiated an unprecedented dialogue between philosophies of memory and mourning on the one hand and theories associated with vitalism, innovation and creativity on the other. The division between these two philosophical camps has been particularly acute within the domain of architecture, each one informing a separate set of design tropes and building types. Memory oriented deconstructive and psychoanalytic theories motivate the aesthetics of voids and absences featured in much contemporary memorial and museum design, while the writings of Gilles Deleuze influence novel experiments in digital form creation and non-linear urban planning. The political, economic and affective complexity ofpost-9111 New York necessitates a response that rethinks the traditional boundaries between these previously independent design approaches. An architecture is required that mobilizes memory, not as the conservation of the past, but as a mode of living historically that is the precondition for change. The thesis is developed across five architectural examples ranging in magnitude from the small spontaneous memorials that emerged in the weeks following 9/11 to the large-scale landscape urbanism project that is transforming the Fresh Kills landfill (containing WTC debris) into a public park. Consideration of these sites pushes philosophy on both sides of the memory/innovation divide into new configurations: Giorgio Agamben's aesthetic theory ofpoiesis suggests an as yet unrealized potential for community within memorial design; Jacques Derrida's concept of autoimmunization presents a link between deconstruction and the politics of life; and the recognition of the place of memory within the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze establishes an alternative relationship between his thought and the practice of architecture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available