The March Goes On
Only for a resurrected humanity would its past, in each of its moments, be citable.
Walter Benjamin, On the Concept of History, 1940
The bloodiest massacre of Turkey’s modern history, the 10 October Massacre is a major breaking point in the wave of violence which has started with Suruç Massacre after the June 2015 Elections. The massacre has gone down in history as a crime against humanity in public conscience and the memories of the victims who were gathered for Labor, Peace and Democracy Meeting on that day now represent the great eternal aspirations of humanity. Beside being a crime against humanity, 10 October Massacre is also a crime against urban public space in a narrower manner. After the massacre the people obviously grow abstain and fear from using public spaces in large cities of Turkey not only through political motives but even for the most occasional everyday purposes.
The design of the Labor, Peace and Democracy Memorial Square and Place aims to honor the memory of victims by re-constructing their memory as the representation of the great aspirations of humanity such as freedom, equality and peace. It focuses on the metaphorical continuity of their march to Sıhhiye Square which they did not have the chance to finish, and approaches their memory as an embodiment of the historical great march of humanity.
The memorial square strives to build a collective memory and public awareness regarding the horrific massacre. However, the memorial concurrently marks the the ideological ground that generated the incentive for this horrendous terrorist attack, which is still continuing to inhibit within the Turkish political sphere and society. The judicial process heretofore is also far from satisfying the expectations of the public opinion. In this sense, the design of the memorial square discusses the very concepts of ‘memorial’ and ‘monument’ themselves and defines an anomaly regarding this particular case. It suggests a formal representation of the remaining existence of the ideological sources that paved the way for the massacre by a “counter-monument”. Hence, contrary to ordinary, the proposed memorial square can not represent a triumphal temporality against an opponent in such a context. Rather, the design attempts to emphasize the eternal but remittent progress of humanity which is eventually to triumph over its obstacles. The memorial square determines a clash of memories in the society regarding the massacre. However, while representing such a clash of memories through space, it manifests itself as party of this clash, instead of highlighting an external perspective. The memorial square constitutes its temporality around this argument, and manifests itself as a potential symbolic space which may speculatively become a major image of a possible social transformation in the future.
The Memorial Route
The design of the memorial square is based on the notion of an ongoing march with reference to the march that was planned on 10 October through Sıhhiye Square. Hence a path directs occupants of the memorial square to the Talatpaşa Boulevard which is the usual marching route to the political demonstrations in the Sıhhiye Square. This path is proposed to be extended as an urban element
with a color emphasis on the ground all along the route to Sıhhiye, in order to emphasize the memory of the horrendous incident on a larger urban scale. The form of the memorial and the other elements of the design is formally derived from different angles of the two linear elements that generates this path. The memorial square ascribes the victims of the terrorist attack as the constituents of a metaphorical eternal march of humanity along with aspirations such as freedom, equality and peace.
The Labor, Peace and Democracy Memorial Square is located in the historical center of Ankara, surrounded by early republican architecture. The design seeks to acquire a positive relationship with early republican urban space as well as the early progressive ideals of the young republic, by the means of both formal language and discourse. The square’s character as a gathering place for political marches and demonstrations is intended to be improved by narrowing the galleries of the underpass down and increasing the slope. By this means the square ground intended to be enlarged.
The Memorial Place
The triangle forms derived from the different angles of the path generate the formal constituents of the memorial devoted to the victims: Three triangles are generated from the intersection of the two linear forms in the plan view. The first one hosts vertically standing triangle planes positioned to emphasize the marching path of the 10 October Meeting through the Talatpaşa Boulevard while the second functions as a platform for a monumental tree. Between the two, the memorial place is organized.
The Planes of Carnation
Planes of carnation are proposed to make people experience a metaphorical feeling as if they pass through the victims while they start their march to the Sıhhiye Square. By leaving carnations in the openings on these vertical planes at the start of their march people may have a more individualistic experience of commemoration. The planes are also proposed to host the textual and visual elements that honors the memory of the 103 victims as well as their names.
The Monumental Tree
A monumental tree is proposed in the memorial place, metaphorically fed by the memory of the 103 people. The tree symbolizes the eternal aspirations of humanity such as freedom equality and peace, standing on the memorial platform formally derived from the marching path. The tree also refers to the ecological concerns of the people who participated in the 10 October 2015 gathering. The monumental tree proposed as ginkgo biloba thanks to its monumental form and long life as well as the its symbolic feature that it was recorded as one of the species which had survived the Hiroshima bombing.
The counter-monument proposed to be an uncanny cage-like structure with a statically irrational sense. It is formed as if it attempts to pressure the monumental tree underneath. However its indurable structure cannot resist the growing tree and crumbles in time as the tree grows. It obtains more and more uncanniness in its process of crumbling and disappears eventually. It is
metaphorically resistless against the humanitarian aspirations symbolized by the monumental tree. One possible scenario regarding the counter-monument may be its demolition by an anonymous social movement in the future as the image of a symbolic ceremonial moment of a social transformation. The future of the counter-monument cannot be projected exactly, it can solely be speculated. However, the only thing beyond speculation regarding its aftermath is that it will disappear.