Chicago Torture Justice Memorial
Stolen Time - Civic Projects’ entry for the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials competition.
We have been privileged to listen to, learn from, and work with survivors of the Burge tortures for several years. Our completion entry seeks to elevate and acknowledge the 120+ identified survivors and allow room within the memorial for those not yet acknowledged.
The memorial spans from the individual to the collective. While each element represents an individual survivor it is the collection and assembly of the whole that allows for a place of reflection, contemplation and conversation. Each ‘bench’ is designed to represent the specific experiences of an individual. The bend or length of each element depicts date of birth, date of torture, length of imprisonment, date of release, life after prison and in some cases, passing. Small notches represent significant events that occurred during imprisonment - the birth of a child, death of a parent and other missed moments.
Having spent time with many survivors we recognize the importance for a place to come together and the significance of individual and shared trauma. The design relies on engaging with each person to tell their own narrative. Grouped together and stretching for over 200 feet, the combined elements illustrate the vast community of survivors; experienced individually each element represents the humanity of those affected.