The Anthropocene Memorial: Recording Climate Change on The Banks of the Potomac River in Washington D.C.

Clara de Massol de Rebetz

Abstract


At the intersection of environmental humanities and memory studies, this article addresses the memorial response to the Anthropocene in an attempt to understand how climate change is and could be displayed and remembered in a public space. Through an examination of Climate Chronograph, a climate change memorial project, the article contextualises commemorative practices within interconnecting social, cultural and environmental realms. Climate Chronograph is a memorial project designed by architects Erik Jensen and Rebecca Sunter. On the banks of the Potomac river in Washington D.C, a sloped park of cherry trees will gradually be submerged in the rising river creating a visual record of climate change. The memorial allows its visitors to imagine a future past of the Anthropocene, an anticipated decaying and drowned future memory. This article explores the specificity of memorial sites in the Anthropocene, how they underline the transcultural dimension of climate change and the meaning-making dimension of memory.

Keywords: Memory; Time; Environment; Architecture


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