By Matthew Rech
In July this year, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall unveiled a memorial to the victims of the London bombings of July, 2005. The 52 stainless steel pillars, which are inscribed with the date, time and location of the bombings they represent, now stand permanently in London’s Hyde Park.
Memorial has oft provided Geographers with ways to explore the relationship between self and landscape, subject and world. However, writing in Transactions, John Wylie re-frames the literature on the cultural politics of place, memory and commemoration, and thus goes beyond interpretations which are predicated on the materiality of memory.
Memorial might be thought of, suggests Wylie, not as “embodied engagements with and by the world” (282), but rather as specific instances of absence, distance, loss and haunting. Here, where absence is “constitutive of the entire experience”, memorials become instances where there can be little connection between “visible and the invisible, seer and seen” (287).