International Competition, 2009
Memorial to honor the Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Location: In the grounds of the United Nations in New York City.
Commissioner: United Nations
The project «Cargo» refers to the experience of the abhorrence tragedy of Slavery. In general the project aptly described as an introduction to what is inside. The design follows the concept of engraved texts in metallic surfaces of symbolic forms, creating «a lieux de memoir» intended to be a place of introspection, reflecting the territorial and timeless coordinates of recollection of the Slavery.
The title is inspired from the industry of Transatlantic Slave Trade and the slave ships where the slaves were arranged on the lower planking and poop deck, according a document plan of 1788.
The memorial proposes a sculptural synthesis in cast aluminum. The object that drives the project is the ball and the chain of Walter Quinn, an image that has shaped in the collective consciousness of humanity. This device that used to be attached to slaves ankles is generated by the sense of human submission. Indeed, the term of slavery seems to apply to the situation of a being in chains. The bounded slave is raising a power on an inanimate object or with a non-human animal. Thus the violence that synthesis contributes is still a reminder of any kind of racism that slavery spawned. The chain and the ball as memorial and monumental itself extract the identity of Slavery from its collective history of suffering.
According the function of a memorial, the work carried its owed monument, bringing the past into the present and preserving a collective narrative of shame, guilt and despair that are the ever present reminders of the world criminal industry of Transatlantic Slave Trade.
The proposal explains the device in sculptured terms in human dimensions deriving its influences from classicism on its formalistic simplification.
Using the form of a sphere that loses part of its spherical form, one quarter and one third from the next quarter, the work creates a void with four plain surfaces. The void is filled with the engraved text TO BE SOLD. The engraved text TO BE SOLD marks the plain floor surface of the void, along its cyclical edge. This text recorded from a document of a cargo on April of 1769. The cast aluminum sculptured objects appears with both: shiny and rough surfaces. This reflects the limits between the time and the timeless. The shiny surfaces as reflectors of the surroundings are alive when the rough texture corresponds to the frozen time. The memorial proposes to construct by cast aluminum that provides a sense of coolness as well as plastic and conceptual significance.
As location proposed the green area located along the southern façade of the General Assembly building with the shackle to the First Avenue, with the aim to transform this green island into a distinct « lieux de memoir».