Welcome to Monument Lab, a public art and history podcast. Each episode, host Paul Farber explores stories and critical conversations around the past, present, and future of monuments. We speak to the artists, activists, and historians on the frontlines, building the next generation of public spaces through stories of social justice and equity. Here are the monumental people, places, and ideas of our time.
Monumental “Local Diaspora” in St. Louis with MADAD’s Damon Davis, Mallory Rukhsana Nezam, and De Nichols
MADAD’s Damon Davis, Mallory Rukhsana Nezam, and De Nichols work to reimagine how joy, justice, and interactivity improve public spaces in St. Louis. The group started their collaborations during the making of Mirror Casket, a sculpture, performance, and visual call to action composed in the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. Mirror Casket is now in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.Their new project, Black Memory STL: Division, Displacement, and Local Diaspora, is a multi-year series of public art installations and interventions in partnership with the Brickline Greenway development and the Griot Museum of Black History. MADAD are 2020 Monument Lab Fellows.
Museums are Not Neutral with Movement Co-Founders La Tanya S. Autry and Mike Murawski
The phrase “Museums Are Not Neutral” is both a hashtag and the rallying words of a movement. This mantra has already changed the way museums are visited, curated, and protested. Amplified by our guests art worker La Tanya S. Autry and museum educator Mike Murawski, #MuseumsAreNotNeutral has been shared more than a million times online by museum curators and educators, and by colleagues in related fields like libraries and archives. We speak to Autry and Murawski about the roots of their Museums Are Not Neutral campaign, how they collaborate and build across social media, and how museums can and should transform as spaces of connection.
Commemorating the 1918 Flu Pandemic with Mütter Museum Organizer Nancy Hill
This episode, we speak to Nancy Hill about cultural memory and timely lessons from the 1918 pandemic. The parallels between then and now are astounding, informative, and troubling. Hill is one of the Philadelphia-based organizers of the Mütter Museum’s exhibition on the 1918 pandemic, Spit Spreads Death. She shares insights with us about how the pandemic is and is not remembered today.
Word Sound Power: A Self Determined Lexicon for Commemorative Justice with Historical Strategist Free Egunfemi Bangura
This episode, we speak to Free Egunfemi Bangura about her work in “Commemorative Justice,” a term she coined. She also breaks down her projects that have left an imprint on Richmond, and how traveling outside of the country has shifted her thinking on her homegrown projects.
Bearing Witness in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands with Conservationist Laiken Jordahl
This episode, we speak to Laiken Jordahl, during the time of self-isolation and quarantine for COVID-19, about the accelerated pace of construction of the border wall. He shares the devastating impacts on the land and residents of the region, the ecological outcomes on endangered species and water systems, and the importance of bearing witness in the borderlands.
No Return to Normal with Artist Mel Chin
During the time of self-isolation and quarantine for COVID-19, we speak to Mel Chin to discuss how he and other artists stay connected, and how his new S.O.U.R.C.E. Studio has a fellowship for women, trans, and non-binary artists to spend time developing their craft. Plus, Chin shares the story of discovering that he won the prestigious MacArthur Genius award.
I needed this.
Monument Lab, more like monument rad! But seriously, I miss this kind of talk. Much needed for my daily commute. Makes me have a new understanding of the invisible fabric that shapes our worlds.
A monumental podcast
An inspiring look at projects around the nation seeking to shift how we think about representation, public art, electoral politics, activism and more.