A Modern Cult of Monuments (2014)
A Modern Cult of Monuments consists of a modest collection of rubble, collected from heritage restoration projects in Cleveland, and meticulously polished and etched using a traditional lithographic process called levigating. This project considers the nature of historical preservation efforts, and what is deemed culturally significant. More specifically, it asks why our first instinct is to polish the concrete and grind off the rust, effectively cleansing a space of its industrial heritage? The title for this project, A Modern Cult of Monuments, is borrowed from Alois Riegl’s 1903 essay, which foreshadowed the rise of inadvertent monuments, and the modern genre of ‘ruin porn’.
As it stands now, our most sincere attempts to preserve this era are often counterproductive, a further erasure or gentrifying of these spaces, resulting in a kind of nostalgic industrial utopia. With this project, I use the act of polishing to bring a sharpened awareness to the work that was once performed amongst these fragments.
A Modern Cult of Monuments was produced with the support of SPACES and Canada Council for the Arts
A Modern Cult of Monuments, historic concrete (polished with levigator and etched), 2014.
detail (sanborn map)
detail (architectural rendering)
Site Photograph: The Palace of Fermentation, Cleveland, OH