Society’s Cage is a timely interpretive installation on the National Mall in Washington, DC on view from August 28-September 6. The project was conceived and designed by the architecture firm SmithGroup in partnership with the Architects Foundation in the aftermath of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor murders as our society reckons with institutional racism and white supremacy. The public installation features a bold interpretive pavilion sculpted to symbolize the historic forces of racialized state violence. The experience educates visitors and functions as a sanctuary to reflect, record and share personal thoughts. It is conceived in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement as a mechanism for building empathy and healing.
The initial installation coincides with the March on Washington in support of Black Lives, being held in Washington, DC on August 28, 2020, and is located on the National Mall at 12th Street and Madison Drive NW.
Society’s Cage reminds visitors that the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are not anomalies, but rather the latest examples in a 400+ year historic pattern of unmitigated, unbound, systemic anti-Blackness in the United States. The installation provides an opportunity to acknowledge and reckon with the severity of the racial biases inherent in the institutional structures of justice and creates a space for collective reflection, contemplation, sharing and healing.
The pavilion is a series of bars which are hung to form a cube with a cavernous void that symbolizes our imperfect society and justice system. The void is shaped by historical data and serves as a visual metaphor to represent the primary institutional forces of racism that embody the Black American experience.
Financial donations to this Virtual History program will support this project, and the possibility of bringing it to Baltimore. Additional donations will benefit the Architects Foundation’s Diversity Advancement scholarships.Learn More