The oldest new structure

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by Ryan Woodring

Less than six months after the Monumental Arch of Palmyra was destroyed by ISIL in 2015,it was reborn as a 1/3 scale replica at the fingertips of the London-based Institute for Digital Archaeology. 3D modeled and robotically carved from Egyptian marble, the new arch is arefugee monument. It is built of easily disassemblable parts and crated all over the Westernworld, from London to New York to Dubai, to take part in highly mediated unveiling ceremonies as a proposed symbol of unity with Syrian citizens. My work, in which I digitally remove the arch from several of these unveiling scenes, looks to distill the essential neoliberal magic trick being offered up in the spectacle- the power to make heritage disappear and reappear as are colonized and placeless objects.