The McKeldin Fountain is located in a free speech zone in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and is popular among local workers, tourists and residents. The demolition of the popular fountain is underway by the Mayor of Baltimore and a local development organization without concrete future plans, or the support of historic and cultural City agencies. The story of McKeldin Fountain is an example of the escalating privatization of public spaces world-wide, a trend that continues to diminish access to free and full participation for ordinary people in everyday urban life. NONUMENT is an international initiative that seeks to honor hidden urban spaces that carry symbolic value for ordinary people. In opposition to bronze and stone, NONUMENT [or no monument] installs new and emerging media forms in order to capture the transitory nature of everyday expriences.
NONUMENT01::The McKeldin Fountain will create a virtual memorial to the brutalist architectural fountain being demolished in downtown Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. An augmented reality version of the destroyed fountain will be created with a 3D model, video, animations, stories and historical information. Viewers will hold up a smartphone or tablet like a protest sign in order to see the lost fountain, hear the waterfalls and nearly forgotten stories from the past 35 years. Sound scores and first-hand stories will remember Occupy Baltimore, the Black Lives Matter movement and protests in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in the hands of Baltimore Police, the National Guard on the site, the activists group Women in Black, controversial comedians, a marriage proposal, artists using soap bubbles, mermaid performances and many other personal, poetic and political stories imbued with frailty in this tenuous free speech zone.
NONUMENT is a research project by the Museum of Transitory Art [MoTA], Lubljana Slovenia, conceived by Martin Bricelj Baraga and Neja Tomšič, addressing the perception of public space and its role in urban everyday life. NONUMENT01::The McKeldin Fountain is the first implementation of the project with Baltimore artists Lisa Moren and Jaimes Mayhew. NONUMENT was developed within the ARTECITYA network co-financed by Creative Europe, devoted to artistic and technological innovations with the aim of improving the quality of life in cities. Special thanks goes to the Imaging Research Center [IRC] at UMBC, the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund and the many contributing artists and collaborators.