Statues are all around us—there are five bronze statues on Duke’s campus, for example—but we often walk past them without reflecting on who or what they represent. Once shiny new landmarks in the built environment, statues can become invisible over time. In our hurry to get from one place to another, we do not stop to read the inscriptions that often tell us why the statue was set up. In any case, the information given on the statue base is only part of the story.
Statues can “speak” to us in many ways, but what if we could actually give them a voice? What would they want to tell us about themselves? This project aims to help statues speak, to tell their own stories. By combining historical research with mobile and web technologies, we will present the “autobiographies” of the statues on Duke’s campus, exploring how they fit into the fabric of Duke’s history and the long-standing practice of setting up honorific portrait statues.