Vacancies and Attenuated Presences: A Counter-Memorial Swimming Pool for Waitara
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This practice-led research thesis inquires into the memorial pool, and posits these strange and disjunctive spaces as counter-memorials, mediums for alternative methods of remembrance. The work unfolds over two stages: fieldwork, and intervention. The fieldwork section details expeditions to three memorial pools found across the North Island. Methods of site-specific inhabitation and witnessing identify, and accrete the phenomenal language of these memorials. This involves particular observation of moments of presence and absence. Transient and mundane images are critically viewed as markers of the aforementioned counter-memorial, and as evidence of the changing roles and temporalities of the designated sites. The intervention leverages this affectual language to propose a speculative reframing of the Waitara Swimming Pool as a memorial pool. The work comprises a series of mnemonic provocations detailing loss, vacancy, and the crossing of ritual thresholds. These present conversational and dialogical encounters. The images of these surfaces and spaces are derived from inhabitation, and activity, contrary to archetypal western monument. They are lived memorials. Conscious and subconscious movements position the viewer as an active participant rather than a distanced observer. The work imagines to localize these memorial narratives to the individual through this immersion into a memorial landscape, presenting opportunities to attenuate and inhabit memory.