the geometry of conscience memorial by alfredo jaar
the geometry of conscience memorial by alfredo jaar the geometry of conscience memorial by alfredo jaar
dec 19, 2012

the geometry of conscience memorial by alfredo jaar

‘the geometry of conscience’ by alfredo jaarphotography cristobal palmaall images © alfredo jaar



developed by new-york based artist alfredo jaar, ‘the geometry of conscience’ is a memorial for the victims of the 17 years long pinochet military rule and dictatorship. it is installed in a plaza next to the museum of memory and human rights in santiago, chile. departing radically from quintessential historical monuments frozen in the past, the installation offers an intimate opportunity for chileans living today to unearth history and reconnect the dots of a still half-buried collective memory. located underground, the exhibit is a silent three minute experience that can only be shared by ten people at once.



hundreds of silhouettes gradually light up over 90 seconds



a museum guard awaits visitors upon descending the 33 steps leading down from the plaza. he explains the proceeding and directs theminside the memorial where they start by experiencing one minute of full darkness. following it, visitors see the back wall light up with hundreds of silhouettes. the light intensity grows from 0 to 100% in 90 seconds, allowing their eyes to adjust to it as well as notice the mirrored lateral walls that project the silhouettes into infinity. the memorial is then plunged back into sudden darkness for another 30 seconds, creating a strong after-image effect on the visitors’ retinas. when the doors open and they leave the space, people take with them a milliondots of lights, recreating the silhouettes now imprinted in their visual memory.


the silhouettes belong to victims of the pinochet regime as well as to anonymous chileans living today. ‘the geometry of conscience’ is therefore a memorial not for victims, but rather for the 17 million chileans who are alive today and trying to retrace their common history.



one minute of complete silence and darkness



silhouettes of both victims and anonymous living chileans shine alongside one another

physically, conceptually, and historically illuminated by the living and the dead in a collective narrative, visitors are reflected in the mirrors and projected to infinity


an after-image effect prints millions of dotted silhouettes onto each visitor’s retinas



the museum of memory and human rights, santiago, chile


the entrance into the geometry of conscience


stairs lead into the memorial where a museum guard guides visitors


visitors leave the memorial but keep its after-image with them


after being visually connected underground, the past and the present are biologically projected into the future as visitors carry their visual memory dotted with fragments of history back into their outside lives



project details:


artist: alfredo jaartitle: the geometry of consciencelocation: santiago, chileproject year: 2010project commissioner: mop, ministerio de obras publicas, under the presidency of michele bachelet, 2006-2010architects: alfredo jaar + jorge dalmazzo



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,545 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample