Monument to All Species
In collaboration with Marina Zurkow,
featuring Una Chaudhuri, Bronislaw Szerzynski,
and Sam Muka
Monuments, as we think of them, celebrate power, grief, victory. They employ specific visual languages that frame them as such. Some monuments, at least in the US, protect significant lands and mark noteworthy geographic features. They historically tend to feature the human species, first and foremost, and most often avoid sticky subjects and non-dominant histories. And within the world of non-dominant narratives, we consider non-human species to be significant members.
Could we say that it is possible to conceive of a monument that is less confident, less hubristic, without becoming an anti-monument? If so, c/would we create—or have we already created—multispecies monuments to the Anthropocene, to the techno-human’s capacity to alter the earth at a geological scale? What would they be?
As a point of departure, we offered to the panel these questions and a modest example: Habitat Compensation Island, a small artificial island carefully created from marine dredge, located in Abu Dhabi, UAE, intended to be a nature preserve for those marine species harmed in the process of dredging itself, and also thought of as a pedagogic outreach tool.
This conversation expanded on the research project and publication Monument to Habitat Compensation Island with Marina Zurkow completed with the generous support of NYU Abu Dhabi in 2020.