The People’s Monument(s)

A temporary public artwork using augmented reality (AR) as a way to explore avenues for participatory urban planning and counter-monument design.

This un-monumental piece explores perceptions of public space, eco-social conditions, the place in history and visions of public art by local residents in Portsmouth (U.K.) By reversing the design process of public art commissions and opening the conversation about how to celebrate the recent city’s histories, this piece becomes the trigger for a public debate. Contested visions of a “new” monument converge in this artwork, from conservative historic symbolism to competing political and racial agendas. This work shifts the attention from the historic and symbolic role of traditional public art to the very act of dialogue and the quest for a kind of ‘monumental consensus‘.

This project uses Augmented Reality (AR) and participation, in order to create a context for dialogue, co-creation and reflection. While the plinth remains empty, at least to the naked eye, it still presents several the ideas, questions and problems that inform the People’s Monument(s) in the form of drawings and messages left by participants and passers by. All of these sketches have been rendered in this hybrid and ever changing ‘virtual’ object. Currently, the plinth is being hosted at the Portsmouth Public Library, second floor. 

Commission by Art Space Portsmouth with support from the Arts Council England, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth Public Library and Culture Department. 3D and AR Development support: @MarcCook_