The “monument” was erected the day history put down a maker of ending. From that moment on all those who encounter the monument become its performers– yet those who acknowledge its creation, take on the role of countering its memory.

If my parents are veterans then I am their memorial. I serve as a constant reminder of the long enduring journey they took in order to ensure their child would not feel the anguish that they had to face growing up in the USSR. But I was a part of their two-immigration journey, and could not help being exposed to unexpected political and social turmoil. Just as veterans of a war, who are unaware of the ramifications their time spent serving will cause on themselves, they become experts in the un-natural field that they are exposed to daily, and often are able to return to their “normal” lives, with the only visible marker of their experience being their existing bodies.

If I am their memorial, then they are my monuments to all the documented events that have taken place in my family linage. Yet, just as my parents, my impermanence is inevitable. My memories are not reflective instead they seem to be formed in the present, and because of this there isn’t a sense of predictability of when they will surface. Being nostalgic would mean I have a way to look back and escape, but I have no such escape. I am a memorial, I am supposed to remind of the past and elicit hope, and if I do shed a tear for remembrance it is a tear of compassion not of empathy. But when in doubt I can turn to my monuments, ones that give me a sense of strength, of a will power to persist through corruption and hardship and to always enjoy life for its new experiences and never reflect back if it can hamper forward progression. But if the monuments collapse, how will the memorial stand? Will the memorial take on the role of monument, or is the memorial in a constant conversation with countering itself, making itself into a counter-monument, one that is critical of permanent traditional forms of monumentalizing, and is accepting of temperance.

As a non-traditional memorial, I have the ability to choose which role I want to play and toward which collective I want to respond. But unfortunately, as all memorials and monuments, I cannot choose who will react toward my existence, both in positive and negative fashions; I am exposed to the public realm, and I must conform to each and every new political, social, or cultural event that takes place.