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Sketches of war : the graveyards of historical memory

Charley, Jonathan (2010) Sketches of war : the graveyards of historical memory. In: Ordnance: War, Architecture and Space - An interdisciplinary conference, 2010-10-12. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Our extraordinary ability to destroy buildings and cities, the industrialisation and mass production of armaments and building components, the impact of the 'culture of fear' on urban and architectural design, the ubiquitous presence of military technology in the civilian world, and the 'soft' militarisation of everyday life in advanced capitalist societies. These are just some of the themes that inevitably arise in any discussion about the relationship between war and architecture. Sketches of War reflects upon these issues and is narrated in the form of a journey to the 'graveyards of historical memory'. As such it visits places as diverse as the military remains of the cold war along the coastlines of Scotland, slave forts in Brasil, the headquarters of the secret police in Moscow, a bombed maternity hospital in Belgrade, and the Oradour memorial village in France. It tries to grapple and answer one burning question in particular; is it possible in any meaningful sense to objectify the memory of war and tragedy?