Gideon Unkeless studies memorial architecture and is interested in the intersection of place, memory, and public participation at sites of historical violence. As the executive director of Projected Memory, a nonprofit arts and research initiative that uses media installations to gather, archive, and display visitor impressions at former Nazi concentration camps, Gideon examines the influence of design on our rituals of remembrance, including the language and gestures with which we express our thoughts and feelings at such fraught places. By comparing spontaneous, lay reflections with the more “considered” expressions of architects, sculptors, and artists who create memorials, he hopes to contribute to a multi-directional dialogue in commemorative architecture and to reveal the tension between the incommunicability of trauma and didactic meaning, and the impulse to engender empathetic and intellectual connections.
Gideon grew up in Brooklyn, New York, designed his own B.A. program in Pedagogy Studies at Wesleyan University, and was a Fulbright Scholar to South Africa, where he became interested in post-Apartheid memorial architecture/design. In 2015-2016 he was a Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellow based at the Freie Universität Berlin.