Lia Yoka & Federico Bellentani

Punctum, 5(2): 5-10, 2019
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2019.0019

While monuments exist in different plastic and architectural forms, such as statues, buildings, squares, temples, gardens, pyramids, cenotaphs, obelisks and even entire areas of a city, what they seem to have in common is a function that is at once commemorative and political. As a certain type of public material incarnation of information, containing, to borrow Göran Sonesson’s term, ‘remote intentionality’ (Sonesson 2015: 32), monuments aim to promote a certain kind of public remembering of an event, as well as a certain kind of forgetting.

Through their inherent ‘remote intentionality’, monuments present the ideas of those who erect them. In the modern period, where official acts of commemoration refer to events ‘marked distinctively and separately from the religious calendar’ (Winter 2010: 312), state-national elites have been aware of the political power of monuments. They have used monuments as tools to legitimize and perpetuate their cultural and political power, i.e. as propaganda invested in objects and rituals, in other words, through forms of commemoration that owe a lot to the psychosocial structure of religious mediation, as expressed for example in shrines and pilgrimages (Groys and Weibel 2010).

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