The Life of Memorials: Manifestations of Memory at the Intersection of Public and Private

Relic, Memento, Memorial

While statues and skyscrapers are ways in which collectives can memorialize people or events, often individuals find more personal ways to remember. Collected mementos from places visited, family photographs, or even locks of hair from loved ones all serve to remind us of people, events or places we’ve known. While the practice of creating, or sometimes selling, keepsakes has changed drastically over time, the same basic desire exists. What are we afraid of losing? Why do we literally take parts of people to preserve their part in our lives? Do we have a right to create relics? How is our personal memory tied to our conception of both self and society?

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