Moments in time – The MEMO project
The MEMO project
The MEMO project recently received planning permission from W&P Planning Committee for it’s ambitious global monument ”conceived as a single spiral of stone, lined with images of the 860 species assessed as extinct since the dodo”. Sited on the west cliffs of Portland overlooking Hallelujah Bay and Chesil Beach, MEMO will, in effect, bring the 185 million continuous years of the history of life charted in rocks of The Jurassic Coast up to date – above ground, using the indigenous arts of Portland – the architectural arts of stonemason and carver. Modelled on the renowned Portland Screw (a turreted gastropod fossil characteristic in portland stone), the spiral architecture is in itself a giant sculpture, lined on the inside with the island’s finest carving stone, and on the outside, the rough hewn textures of the stone blocks we are familiar with from all around the island.
MEMO stands for Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory because the 860 species which have gone extinct in the last 350 years is considered a radical acceleration form the norm – in fact an event equivalent to that which wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago – and recorded as fossils in our rocks. Halting the speed of this loss is a critical task of our time.
One miniscule moment within these grand geological timelines is the 2012 Olympics which of course bring an international audience to Portland for the launch of MEMO. Undoubtedly some exciting times for stone enthusiasts of all kinds ahead: more details here about workshops and events as they emerge, or go to www.memoproject.org.