“The very notion of a modern monument is a contradiction in terms of; if it is a monument, it cannot be modern, and if it is modern, it cannot be a monument.” Lewis Mumford- 1937.
Sitting through a lecture given by Jeffery Schnapp, a man who was deeply involved in the re-modelling of The Victory Monument in Bolzano. He emphasized on why the structure needed to be “re-created” to fit in with the changing architectural designs of the 21st Century. He added that a portion of the public did not fully embrace the new changes and were constantly rioting around after its re-opening.
The monument today lies in the Victory Square with high definition screens surrounding the pillars. It is a famous tourist destination owing to the fact that it receives thousands of visits every year. The original structure was put up on the personal orders of Mussolini. The construction was dedicated to the “Martyrs of the First World War.” On a Powerpoint displayed imaged Jeffery Schnapp showed the Latin Script inscribed on the facade. “Hic patriae fine siste signa. Hinc ceteros excoluimus lingua legibus artibus” — Here at the border of the motherland stands a mark. From this point on we educated others with language, law and culture.
He described how the name of the monument and the latin script was seen as offensive by the German-speaking South Tyroleans. He noted that the monument has been surrounded by controversial demonstrations ever since its first inauguration on 12th July 28′. Many South Tyroleans call the monument the “Fascist Temple”. Today, the monument still is an icon of the tensions between the Italian and German speaking communities in Bozen-Bolzano. But it is heavily guarded to prevent any destruction plots.
What is modern monument? And why was Schnapp’s team so focused on re-modelling the monument? To them, marking time on the architectural figure was essential for memory purposes. Italy boasts of more Unesco world heritage sites than any other country; a fact that brings huge national pride, but also a burden. Years of short-lived governments, corruption scandals and bureaucratic hold-ups have all contributed to the neglect affecting its famous museums and historic sites. The team of designers saw the need to bring back the monuments glamour in a “modern way”.