“Negative Monument” (2018) is an open invitation to engage in the participatory yet imperceptible negation of a monument. As a speculative proposal, practical intervention, and anti-monumental gesture, the work aims to unsettle the privileging of publicity over clandestinity, preservation over defacement, and consensus over dissensus that have structured contemporary debates concerning the role of monuments in political and everyday life. When installed in a space, visitors are invited to take a copy of “Negative Monument” to disassemble, disseminate, and disperse the work into a range of unanticipated contexts.
“Negative Monument” is inspired and informed by recent examples of anti-monumental practices such as the widespread toppling of dictators’ statues during the Arab Spring, the defacement of fascist monuments throughout Spain, and the tearing down of confederate monuments in the United States. Additionally, the work draws upon the notion of destituent power and insurrectionary thought more generally, traditions that are interested in vacating and abolishing power while opposing its reconstitution or reinstantiation.