Digital ArtSunken Statues, 2020

– SUNKEN STATUES – Statues pepper our cities. To some, they are “of their time” or carry no more meaning than the stone or bronze that form them; to others they epitomise our collective ignorance to current systemic injustices and represent an unwillingness to change. Some say they must be removed or placed in museums, but wouldn’t this deny or sequester our chequered past? Others approach the problem by suggesting a change of plaque that states the controversy surrounding such statues, but surely this still allows for their physical, symbolic message to dominate? “Sunken Statues” is a speculative project that uses the Melville Monument in Edinburgh to explore and contribute to this discourse by reframing existing controversial statues in a way that creates a layering of differing attitudes. By sinking the statues, we lay history out in full view, bearing both historic and current socio-cultural attitudes simultaneously. Once placed on pedestals for us to revere, the perspective is changed, allowing us to look down on them, encouraging us to reflect upon our collective past in order to progress towards a fairer future. Our past may be set in stone, but there are many more stones to be set yet.