Caleb Duarte Piñon distinguishes between monuments and altars. Monuments are overwhelming, huge, hard to break, violently jammed into the earth. They reinforce, reproduce, extend power. Monuments violently silence stories people tell about themselves, they suppress every story but their own. The stories told by monuments end in morals. They serve power, they work to control. Only the powerful can call monuments into being.1
Altars are human scale creations, spontaneously precipitated out of a shared desire to tell a shared story. Created both together and individually, this work coalesces socially to express something of the community. Altars are temporary, shifting, laid down upon the earth gently. They quietly amplify the stories people tell about themselves, they celebrate every story woven into them. The stories told by altars don’t end in morals. They don’t end at all, they’re liberating. Anyone can call altars into being.