The possibilities of the pedestal; a case study into the modern iconoclasm
With our rapid society-changing morals, 2020 has already been an eventful year. Unlike the COVID-19 outbreak, the BLM-movement (black lives matter) has made the people realise the silent but present ignorance of racism and inequality. As a result, colonial statues have become a debate and target for a modern Iconoclasm. These relics from a distant past form a redundant typology with values we should no longer uphold. What is important to note is that there is a separation to be made between the loaded-statue and its neutral pedestal.
In this essay, the pedestal, a leftover typology, becomes a rediscovered urban quality spread all over the world, to be used and experimented with. Unlike many other cases that get erased from the collective memory. It is time to give the pedestal the benefit of the doubt.
At the centre of squares, crossroads, in front of symbolic houses of power, etc. The pedestal frequently occupies important/visible places in the cityscape. History has shown us that at these squares, citizens expressed or should be allowed to express their freedom, their dissatisfaction/satisfaction, organise city activities and so on. The destruction of the statue allows the opportunity for the reconversion of the pedestal’s identity. The city officials could allow initiatives to use the pedestal and create ideas that benefit and elevate the objet trouvé into something new.
One such idea could be to use it as a plint for a new radio tower, where local bands could have their breakthrough, where radio producers have talks about the ever-changing city. Another would be to create a small space on top of the pedestal for exhibiting the works of Art and Design Schools. Even a simple platform could be built on top of the relic where concerts, festivals or political speeches can happen, with the citizens as watchful attendees.
These are just a few examples to show that the pedestal could be changed in form and identity. An intervention like this can create debates for changing that built environment, for the better. The pedestal will be reused to convey contemporary ideas and values of today that will be written in tomorrow’s history.
Note: drawings are illustrative, not an actual design