Memorial to Black Lives

Memorial to Black Lives

Current Project


As part of a triad of “memorials” titled Prosthetic Landscapes, the Memorial to Black Lives challenges the traditional concept of a memorial as an inert monument and instead acts as a vehicle for mobilization. Focusing on South Los Angeles, and specifically the Hyde Park neighborhood, geodata triggered by physical markers will commemorate the ever-expanding database of state violence and reclaim these sites as public space through the memorial’s organizing component.

Memorial to Black Lives negotiates sites of trauma and resilience as a starting point to consider practices of memorialization in the 21st-century.  L.A. Commons in partnership with USC architecture faculty Alison Hirsch and Aroussiak Gabrielian will contribute to the organization of community storycircles and participatory workshops to develop immersive storylines about particular places, as well as prototypes for physical markings in collaboration with local artists from Hyde Park.  USC students will work with local artists to develop mobile and environmental narrative experiences and a season of programming in Fall 2021 will include a performative procession through the sites of significance.


  • Provides participating community members with space and a storytelling process to express their experiences of resilience and trauma in the face of state violence
  • Provokes a more inclusive form of national “truth telling” by bringing presence to sites whose stories have been erased or overlooked
  • Community youth led story gathering strengthens intergenerational ties, fosters neighborhood conversations, deepens understanding, and a shared sense of belonging and identity
  • Increases the leadership capacity of local youth in civic affairs and the impact of local artists in contributing to community identity and positive change