Swirling Passages of Death

So this is a little embarrassing:

Said Swirling Passages…

A memorial for Hurricane Katrina was one of the first projects assigned in my architecture design labs. Wanting to differentiate myself, I decided to try for a memorial in the tradition of the Holocaust museum (i.e. not soothing).

My memorial was an aquarium. The water was black and polluted. Bodies, industrial waste, and debris floated through the murk, which had a strong current created mechanically. The sound from the pumps and motors was piped into the coffin-shaped, glass tunnels which wound through the aquarium, ever downwards, making it impossible to talk. These tunnels were of obviously shoddy construction with leaks every few feet, making each step through ankle-deep water precarious. Simulated smells of rot and decay wafted upwards from the bottom of the passage. Backtracking was not an option, as the passage had been accessed via a greased fireman’s pole. So you’re forced to keep heading downwards into a damp, pungent abyss.

I hoped that all this would create a fully horrifying experience that visitors would never forget. Not wanting to waste such induced disgust/fear/anger I also ran plaques down the walls of the tunnels. The plaques were covered with names. The names of everyone who forewarned of the catastrophe. Not the victims. That way the connection would be made that this was a preventable tragedy.

The passage eventually led to the bottom of a latter that rose vertically 300 feet to the surface. Visitors emerged in a boring, symmetrical park that bordered an immense statue of George W. Bush riding a white horse. Complete with plaque-copy lauding the “Savior of New Orleans.”

Over the top? Shrill? Yes and Yes. However, it did cause/encourage a few other students to incorporate political messages into their memorials, albeit in a less flamethrower way. I guess if you’re going to be the far left point of Daou’s triangle, you might as well go all the way…

2 comments to Swirling Passages of Death

  • […] graves of starving Iraqi children (yes they’re both dead and starving). Over the top?  Well, Swirling Passages of Death was one of my first architecture projects, so it’s par for the […]

  • Fre5 tunnelen og ut i hf8glys deg, ndyeleg!Svar pe5 kvifor blomen hos meg blir kalla stemor: Blomen har fem kronblad: ei mor med to df8tre og to stedf8tre. Den gule flekken i midten liknar eit stort grautfat med ein stor smf8rklatt. Mora sjf8lv sit pe5 det breie bladet nedst og kosar seg med grauten ne6rast df8trene. Dei fe5r ogse5 ein klatt graut kvar. Men dei stakkars stedf8trene f8vst pe5 blomen fe5r ikkje noko av grauten. Der er det ingen gule flekker fre5 smf8ret.

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