Where Peace Will Take Place
World Architectural Festival in Singapore 2013
“[a]lmost all processes including war-making and peace-making take place somewhere, in a specific local setting” (Koopman2011; Megorn, 2011).
It has been more than five years since speaking at the World Architectural Festival in Singapore about my research on memories and place. Since then my focus has been on memory and peace-building in post-conflict conditions. I think there is a lot to learn from these conditions with regards how remembrance has been taken for granted in countries which are not struggling to reconcile the traumas of conflict. All countries are challenged by their past and its how we manage those fragile memories of the past, which is important for a future without violence.
Contemporary modes of remembrance (Museums, monuments, etc) despite their merits and good intentions, and because of their constitutional weaknesses and political agendas, struggle to support and acknowledge the memories at a local level, a level at which the entangled emotions and memories are an everyday factor of life within fragile post-conflict communities, where violent intentions fester and evolve quickly, often sparked or amplified by the unacknowledged or manipulated memories of conflict behavior from a local perspective.
These are the places where a primary mode of remembrance is required. An everyday mode of remembrance underpinned by an agnostic approach of representation, which can provide an essential platform for reconciliation in civil conflicts and support the broader reaching modes of remembrance related to nation-building exercises of making sense of the conflict and its impact.
A primary mode of remembrance that acknowledges that, all memories originate in some place or space’, and as such, the built environment should be a contributing factor and requires particular attention. For Koopman and Megoran, “[a]lmost all processes including war-making and peace-making take place somewhere, in a specific local setting” (Koopman2011; Megorn, 2011).
Without understanding and acknowledging the complexities of memory and emotions at the local level, peacebuilding will always be precariously positioned and vulnerable to exploitation by others intent on disrupting peace. Annika and Kappler refer to Richmond and McGinty as an example of this instability as they argue that, “[c]contemporary peacebuilding missions profess to bring about ‘peace’, but what exactly constitutes peace is seldom apparent to the people on the ground. Where peace will take place is hence not always obvious, and not always does peace materialise in peoples’ everyday” (Annika, Kappler 2017).
Not only Peacebuilding but Peacekeeping has therefore overlooked the importance and the construction of the everyday memories......FMH