ASU alumni and Peritoneum designers Kyle Fiano and Courtney Larsen will spend a month in eastern Europe this summer to study Spomeniks, a form of public art designed to commemorate historic events.
Fiano, who graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and is currently getting his master’s degree, said he and Larsen decided to apply for the Discovery Scholarship as a way to fund their research into the monuments, which were built to remember battles, concentration camps and socialism.
“This trip was largely inspired because of Peritoneum. We have become more interested in public art because of that and we see the direct impact it had on the community,” said Larsen, a recent ASU graduate who first learned of Yugoslavian Spomeniks after researching public art overseas.
Larsen and Fiano plan to visit monuments throughout Europe from May 14 through June 12.
“When we get to Europe, we plan on really digging down and studying the structure, and reacting to them,” Larsen said. “We plan on spending most of our time sketching, drawing, writing and analyzing from every angle that we can.”
The pair hopes the study will raise awareness of the monuments, which have been held in poor opinion in recent years.
“Since socialism fell, society doesn’t really accept these sculptures in a positive way anymore, and in a way they have become abandoned,” Fiano said.
Once they return from Europe, Fiano and Larsen plan to publish a book documenting their month-long trip, and present an art installation in the Phoenix area based on their study.
“We think they’re just beautiful structures on their own and can stand alone as public art without being saddled with their past,” Larsen said.
They also plan to compile lectures and presentations for ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
“Having them gain popularity isn’t something we’re necessarily striving for, but diving into a deeper aspect of these sculptures is what we want to do,” Fiano said.
Larsen plans to continue with public art while Fiano pursues architecture design. Both said they hope the trip will add a creative influence to their skills and designs.
“As art students, architecture students and design students in general, this can be something to gain inspiration from and if we can provide more for that, that would be our goal,” Laresen said.
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