What would you use to represent memorialisation in an image?
February 6, 2020 10:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm putting together the paper programme for a conference. The theme is anniversaries and memorialisation. We cover a variety of anniversaries - births, deaths, events, buildings. The theme is not the individual anniversaries but how they have been remembered and commemorated over time. We have an image for each paper in the paper programme, but want a front-page image representing memorialisation generally. We've thought of candles and calendars - what else would work? We have someone with art and DTP skills so could commission images or put several things together if one image won't work. Thanks.
posted by paduasoy to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
stylus & tablet?
hammer, chisel & obelisk?
an imposing ledger?
a tapestry? a knotted cord?
a footprint; a cast of a footprint?
a charm bracelet. a lock of hair.
a wall covered in tally marks.

dante gabrielle rosetti's painting of mnemosyne, titaness and mother of the muses, is subtitled "the lamp of memory" and may even depict a woman holding a lamp; a cursory scan of the eponymous wikipedia entry where i found the picture did not reveal associated symbols.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:34 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]

Try running a few search terms through the Noun Project.
posted by b33j at 2:11 AM on February 7

A ship's wake. It conveys that you're looking back. Something like this image. The water can't be too choppy or "stiff," or else it will convey speed. An image from a rear-view mirror might do the same, but I think the mirror itself puts something manmade between the viewer and the concept, and feels clunker to me.
posted by cocoagirl at 2:53 AM on February 7

I really think you're there with a candle. I'm not religious so I don't have the traditional 'lighting a candle in church' association, but it still resonates with me as something that would be at a funeral, or that people might do at home on the birthday or anniversary of someone's passing.

The thing with symbols is that you actually want to go for the most obvious option, so it's easily understandable. It's not really the place to be creative or come up with clever, unusual things that require explanation. The suggestions made so far are all lovely ideas, but I'm not sure I'd understand what any of them meant wrt memorialisation if I saw them in this context.
posted by penguin pie at 3:05 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]

I would think a candle and a calendar or calendar page together.
posted by FencingGal at 3:43 AM on February 7

Candle and wreath
posted by xo at 4:46 AM on February 7

Gravestone, picture frame, pyramid, Taj Mahal.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:03 AM on February 7

I think an image of a roadside memorial for an accident victim would work well. An image search for "roadside memorial" pulls up bunch of these. Here's one of a Virginia senator paying respects at the impromptu memorial to the victim of the vehicular attack in Charlottsville in 2017. It's in an urban area, and there's memorial graffiti on the adjacent building too. The city later named the street after her.
posted by nangar at 5:34 AM on February 7

A cenotaph. Sometimes the form of an obelisk is used.
posted by tmdonahue at 6:34 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]

Rosemary / rosemary wreath
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:36 AM on February 7

A candle is for celebrating a birthday. Something like a chisel and ledger/marble is used for memorializing— the key is to pick a symbol that doesn’t exclusively suggest death (like a grave or wreath might). However, you need to suggest entering the event into the record, not merely celebrating or witnessing it (as with the candle or the rear view mirror / boat, respectively). A fountain pen entering dates in a book, perhaps a family bible or scrapbook? A growth chart on the wall recording heights? A fountain pen keeping a stricter record? Something more abstract with books, writing tools, etc?
posted by sweltering at 7:48 AM on February 7

A locket, a camera, an envelope with a seal (to represent, for example, a love letter), a framed portrait, a cameo.
posted by aquamvidam at 9:44 AM on February 7

Maybe a ribbon.
posted by beandip at 10:28 AM on February 7

Forget-me-not flowers?
posted by slightlybewildered at 2:20 AM on February 8

Thanks, this is very helpful and has helped to clarify for us what the theme of the conference is - remembering as opposed to mourning, which is a really tricky one!

So far we're thinking one of

- a composite image: possibilities including candles, wreaths, cenotaph, gravestones, pen writing names and dates, family tree, newspaper masthead, calendar …
- rosemary or forget-me-nots: I really like these but my colleagues think it may be too obscure.
- art related to Mnemosyne: my favourite but not sure if my colleagues will go for it.

Also considering adding a quotation about remembrance and the past, if we can find one that works.
posted by paduasoy at 12:46 AM on February 10

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