Universidad Adolfo Ibañez

Memorials and the Cult of Apology

Área de publicación Escuela de Diseño
Tipo de publicación Artículos
Lugar de publicación E-flux
Fecha de publicación 2020

Brandt’s genuflection inaugurated a global phenomenon that I term the “cult of apology.” Following art historian Alois Riegl’s concept of the “cult of monuments,” I argue that the cult of apology developed as a European secular religion, imbued with lessons of humanity to avoid the twentieth-century break of civilization to reoccur. Indebted to Judaic notions of collective atonement and to the Christian practice of private repentance, apologies have come to play an important role in secular societies. The secularization of repentance practices and the transformation of apology from a private ritual into a public one are two distinctive characteristics of what apology scholars Roy Brooks and John Torpey have termed the “age of apology.” Consequently, the politics of apology have had an impact on the public and private spheres alike. The cult of apology is situated within this boom of apology. Moving beyond words, the age of apology has been transformed into a cult by tapping into the built environment.

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