Deep Space: Re-signifying Valle de los Caídos



  • Deep Space: Re-signifying Valle de los Caídos



  • The workshop focusses on developing concepts for prototypes for an AR app, contextualizing and supporting the resignification of the controversial Francoist monument Valle de los Caídos.

    The Francoist monument for the Fallen of the Spanish Civil War near Madrid, built between 1940-1959 partly by forced labour of political prisoners, includes more than 33.000 remains from both conflict sides, removed from mass-graves around the country without the relatives’ knowledge. The official onsite information does not communicate this difficult history; the traces of the prisoner of war-barracks and mass-graves are in no way visible to the visitors.

    The onsite presentation of its history with the help of an AR application would make Valle des los Caídos a tangible testimony of Francoism, breaking its totalitarian narrative, transforming it into a polyphonic memorial, supporting its transformation – and an example for the resignification of controversial monuments in the Digital Age.

    ‘Augmenting’ physical memory sites into polyphonic spaces is an important challenge. The project is a case-study for the reinterpretation and transformation of historically loaded, controversial physical memory sites with digital tools. Witnessing a surge of iconoclastic actions against monuments glorifying controversial, exploitative, and unresolved history worldwide, it is urgent to develop inclusive tools and methods to reckon with testimonies of controversial past and its unresolved wounds.

    Digital tools are especially relevant for the resignification of large-scale physical memory sites – in a landscape-scale (Valle des los Caídos) and in an urban-scale. The project opens paths for the inclusive re-reading of larger territories (for example, under a post-colonial perspective).

    Such an AR application would be of great relevance for the resignification process of Valle de los Caídos. It can also inform the processing of other contested memory sites internationally and be relevant to the discourse on inclusive (memory) spaces and the need for inclusive heritage and memory-making.


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