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Barry, S., 2020.

Spatiality and the Memorialisation of Conflict

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:Mediating the Spatiality of Conflicts
Venue:TU Delft, The Netherlands
Dates:6/11/2019 - 8/11/2019

Territory holds an emotional value, as does social memory, which play a significant role in spatial relations both during and after conflict. The physical memorialisation of the process of remembrance tries to encompass a collective memory that is becoming increasingly charged with questions of whose memory, or whose past is being represented. Memory is used to claim spaces for particular agendas while forgetting is also used to eliminate inconvenient pasts. Conflict is often seen in causal terms through a narrative of 'who did what to whom' or a chronology of war and peace. Often the nature and magnitude of data relating to conflict can be simultaneously overwhelming and fraught with political cognisance. Frequently the realities of individuals involved are forgotten in the sheer scale and nature of the event to which the data pertains. Yet to memorialise the conflict and sacrifice of a multitude at an historical distance creates enormous responsibility whilst at the same time isolated from intensely personal manifestation, making sacred the concept or purpose rather than the individual. This paper aims to redress the balance and explore how spatiality and memory construct a personal experience reflective of the time of conflict from a historical distance.

The centenary of the First World War marked the last chapter in the national collective consciousness of the war to end all wars. The horrors of the European battlefields consigned to the pages of history, living memory now departed. Yet, the scale, suffering and terror of so many who fought is in and of itself sacred and should be remembered. This paper explores spatiality, and the memory of conflict in the process of mediated memorialisation in the form of Interstices, derived from a disruptive data map chronicling the war experience of army personnel recuperating at Stamford Military Hospital. The sculpture was exhibited as part of the Sanctuary from the Trenches exhibition at Dunham Massey in Cheshire highlighting the individual experience in the chaos of conflict.