This thesis imagines a counter-monument to the Founders’ Memorial project, and the collective memory that it embodies: the Singapore Story. Set in a future of a Workers’ Party victory at the General Elections, a design competition is being held to design a Counter-monument to the already-built Founders’ Memorial, featuring people, events and perspectives that have been neglected or erased to showcase a more inclusive version of our nation’s history.
The notion of a single, ‘correct’ version of history creates a mindset which pervades our worldview: that a ‘correct’ and ‘wrong’ answer exists for every question, that a model citizen should follow a standard path in life, and that there is only one way to be patriotic: you either side with the ruling party, or risk going against your own country. It is my hope that we can open the conversation about sensitive issues in our past that have long been swept under the rug, and to weave alternate viewpoints and figures into a new story for Singapore.
The project envisions a series of intersecting corridors that disrupts the Interpretive Gallery of the Founders’ Memorial at specific points of the main timeline portrayed, offering insights into submerged events, people and perspectives. Through the medium of landscape, in the form of specific trees housed in lightwells at the end of each corridor; and a play of light, by changing the way light enters these dark corridors to create atmosphere, these submerged narratives are felt and understood, in a primarily sensorial experience that opposes the didactic nature of the main gallery.
Marcus Sim’s project reimagines the Founders’ Memorial as a more inclusive version of the Singapore Story. Performing as a counter-monument, his proposal introduces seven new structures that disrupt the memorial’s smooth and encompassing landform architecture. Architecturally, they mark moments of tension, struggle and potential reconciliation. Located within each structure is the presentation of the less discussed narrative of the Singapore Story and a tree that marks the high point of the visitor’s experience. Besides expressing each historical moment, the tree also symbolises the knowledge, nourishment, protection, and maturity essential to forging an inclusive society.- Assoc. Prof. Thomas Kong