How would you map the monuments of St. Louis?
In a research residency at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Monument Lab and a team of local researchers gathered publicly-sourced inventories of St. Louis’s symbols and sites of memory.
The Public Iconographies team worked from a research field office in the museum during open hours and extended into various communities through research-gathering meet-ups at cultural sites around St. Louis. Residents and visitors were invited to submit personalized responses on paper forms, each with a hand-drawn map of the city, to build an atlas of both traditional and unofficial sites of memory, whether they are existing, potential, historical, or erased. 750 participants contributed maps. The project marked both existing landmarks and monuments, as well as missing aspects of the city’s current landscape which are nonetheless part of the public consciousness around histories of justice and injustice, as well as equity and exclusion. The goals of the project were to explore the relationship between St. Louis’s residents and the city’s inherited symbols, as a means to critically explore, represent, and update the iconography of the city.
The residency will culminate in 2020 with continued stakeholder engagement, a collaboration with Washington University’s African American Studies and Sociology departments, and the release of a publication featuring Monument Lab’s findings.