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Gun Violence Memorial Project by MASS Design Group

MASS Design Group builds glass memorial for victims of gun violence at Chicago Architecture Biennial

The Gun Violence Memorial Project at this year's Chicago Architecture Biennial is an installation of houses filled with items belonging to victims of gun violence.

Architecture and design collective MASS Design Group created the exhibit with conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas, Chicago advocacy group Purpose Over Plain and Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates against gun violence.

Gun Violence Memorial Project by MASS Design Group

Located in the Chicago Cultural Center, the installation is intended to visualise statistics from a recent study by Everytown for Gun Safety, which calculated 100 gun-related deaths take place each day and an average of 36,383 take place each year.

The Gun Violence Memorial Project comprises four glass houses made of 700 white bricks, representing the amount of gun violence victims in America each week.

Gun Violence Memorial Project by MASS Design Group

The hollow white bricks also form cabinets for objects owned by victims, alongside a plaque that details their name, birthday and year they died.

"Gun violence is a national epidemic, the sheer enormity of which is impossible for us to truly comprehend," said MASS Design Group founding principal Michael Murphy. "These numbers increase every day, but mere statistics don't share individual stories or provide the dignity that each of these lives deserves."

Gun Violence Memorial Project by MASS Design Group

"We need to showcase the names and stories of the lives lost in order to understand a path forward," Murphy added. "The goal of this memorial is to recognise and honour those who have been affected by gun violence and to change our national narrative around gun violence through a participatory process."

Objects, which include photographs, a hat and a shoe, were collected during events hosted in Washington DC and Chicago.

Additional items will also be collected during the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which runs from 19 September 2019 to 5 January 2020.

Following the Chicago event, the team intend to tour the installation across other cities in the US, including Washington DC.

The Gun Violence Memorial Project was among artistic director Yesomi Umolu's top five picks from this year's Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Gun Violence Memorial Project by MASS Design Group

Titled ...And Other Stories, the event tasked participants to explore a wide-range of social issues under one of four themes: No Land Beyond, Appearances and Erasures, Rights and Reclamations, and Common Ground.

Forensic Architecture and Invisible Institute's response to the theme also focused on gun violence in America, with a video investigation into the police's killing of African American barber Harith Augustus.