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Names on a Memorial

Like all language, organized information can be persuasive. It “directs our thinking,” as biologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote about classification. Names on memorials are examples of organized information where arrangement defines a visitor’s experience. The thoughtful chronology of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial builds a space for individual remembrance. A World War I memorial does the same, but with a different arrangement strategy, reflecting the difference in the two wars. In contrast, the random arrangement proposed for the World Trade Center memorial almost derailed the project. Yet, in another context, random builds community at the Memorial Temples of Burning Man. Click here for the full article.