Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Survivors Memorial
Sebastian Tiong & Alex Yuen
The design approach of the proposed memorial seeks to redefine what it means to memorialize. To memorialize in this case through an architectural intervention should not be thought of as a passive act of remembrance or tacit acknowledgement. Secondly , the diversity and personal nature of the stories of sexual abuse survivors make it inappropriate to propose an object of symbolization that is a manifestation of a specific intent or perspective.
To address these considerations the memorial aims to create a space to be filled, where narratives can be shared and listened to, These narratives will be used to empower and inform. To memorialize in this instance is not a passive gesture but an active and continuous act. To enable this, the architectural form carves out a warm, inviting and comforting space that brings together the narrative strands of sexual abuse survivors. Metaphorically these diverse yet individual strands are woven together to create a united voice.
On the urban scale the proposed memorial consciously and assertively links itself with the National Museum of Australia. It is envisioned that the narratives of sexual abuse survivors becomes another piece of string that forms the architecture of the National Museum of Australia- that is the entanglement of contested histories, voices and people. Through this gesture the narratives of survivors will be actively embedded in our national story to perpetually empower and inform future generations.
On an architectural scale, the link with the National Museum of Australia is further reinforced through the use of direct reference. The panels which make up the memorial are a reappropriation of the Museum’s balustrade panels, placed along the very axis where the metaphorical narrative strands enter the national consciousness.
The physicality of the architecture is dematerialized by the interplay between sunlight and perforated inscriptions detailed on the panels. A juxtaposition between shadow and light, solid and void results. A warm and embracing atmospheric quality will be produced when streams of sunlight flow between the panels and through its perforations. During the night, this interplay between the form and light is reversed. The memorial will become a lantern emanating a warm luminous glow from Action Peninsula.