Transforming Loss... Covid City
Institution: The Boston Globe
Site: Austin, TX
Award: How Do We Memorialize the Pandemic, BostonGlobe.com Web APP
Date Proposed: May 9th, 2022
Status: Published in web BostonGlobe.com APP (Unrealized)
The number lost in the United States from Covid 19 will be equal to and exceed that of America’s 10th largest city by March of 2022. If Covid 19 had been a conventional bomb that dropped, we would’ve lost the entirety of Austin, Texas. My proposal is to create a space equivalent to the scale of Austin, Texas, just outside Austin called "Covid City… transforming loss".
This space would be in the shape of the outline of Austin. The outline would be roughly one hundred feet wide and populated with rectangular forms double the rough dimensions of people lost to Covid 19. Each rectangle would be labeled with their names, dates of life and dimensions; Jane Anonymous, born: June 3rd, 1990 - died: March 30, 2020, h=5’9", w=22". The rectangle will be composed of black solar energy collecting glass. The entirety of the outlined site will be a solar energy collecting grid that can redistribute power back to Austin. This way the lost will always live on and support us. The space inside the outline marks the unknowable, incalculable, loss of life from excess death due to Covid 19.
We are past memoriam without action. No plaque or large ornamentation will help us come close to coping with the scale of this loss. "Covid City… transforming loss" is a living energy monument and a reminder that to remember is to create from the past a new way forward that can perpetually sustain the living.
The city sized, energy producing, outline can be visited. The full hike, roughly 100 miles, would take a few days with a searchable digital map that designates all the placements of the lost. The journey would wind through small towns, fields, forests and rural farm land; allowing one to begin to slowly explore the enormity of the scale of the pandemic.