I'm so lazy that I've only just bothered to look at the plans for the 9/11 memorial. And I'm so shallow that the only reason I did that was because I saw a news story informing an awestruck world that Billy Crystal is going to be a director of the fundraising committee, and I thought, crikey, Billy Crystal's 60 years old, I wonder whether Soap has aged better than he has. And I'm so cynical that, when I noticed Robert De Niro was on the same board, I immediately surmised that they're doing it to promote a threequel called Analyze The Other.
Anyway, the memorial will (if Billy and Bob and their slebby pals get their various acts together) go by the name of Reflecting Absence, which is, I suppose, what memorials should do; offer a physical representation not just of those who are no longer around, but of the emptiness and loss that their absence creates. This is the opposite of Baudrillard's analysis of the successive phases of the image; in the third phase, he opines, the image masks the absence of a profound reality. But you knew that. A memorial, by contrast, draws attention to the fact of that absence.
The problem is that nothingness is a difficult thing to represent: you have to create an environment in which one expects presence to make the absence apparent. This is why Cage's 4'33" is not just any old silence; it needs the musicians, the conductor, the audience to remind us what we aren't hearing.
I'm not Stephen Bayley's greatest fan, but I did agree with him that the only way the Millennium Dome might have been redeemed would have been to leave it completely empty (as distinct from vacuous, which is what in the end happened). Coincidentally, of course, the most lasting and successful monument to that great calendrical non-event was a structure that moves but goes precisely nowhere.
Still in London, while I like the various conceptual witticisms that pop up on the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square, I did prefer it in its unadorned state, when you could imagine whatever you liked there, provided it was something that didn't mind getting covered in pigeon shit and Italian exchange students who'd been kicked out of the National Gallery for snogging.
And if you don't mind getting your hands dirty, how's about Kerry Katona's new perfume, Outrageous, as reported in the Liverpool Echo, via No Rock And Roll Fun:
The French-made scent, whose bottle has a spiky black rubber top, aims to reflect the mother-of-four’s personality and the “outrageous” lies about what she has not done.
Untruths about non-events, eh? I'm impressed. Nature, as I vaguely remember from the time before I dropped physics, abhors a vacuum. Art, it would seem, rather likes the idea.