“I was deeply moved on learning of this brilliant, profound, and ultimately humanitarian enterprise. It does the UK proud.”—E.O. Wilson
MEMO is a spectacular monument, a beacon celebrating life on earth and honoring the species we have lost. It is a physical and virtual gathering place that fosters understanding of the importance of every species within the intricate web of life. Located on England’s Isle of Portland, a Geological World Heritage Site, this cliff-top stone structure is an art-science collaboration created by sculptors from around the world. MEMO is the seed and soul of a renewed public engagement with biodiversity and species extinction, building knowledge and inspiring global action to address this vital moral issue of our time.
Artist’s impression of the interior of MEMO © Adjaye Associates
As a biodiversity icon, MEMO serves as both an observatory to better understand the diversity of life and a memorial to mark that which we hold dear. It brings together the best of the arts and sciences to capture the public’s imagination about the importance of biodiversity and inspire them to be compassionate stewards of our living world.
Sculpture of the extinct gastric-brooding frog. By Tim Lees.
MEMO is an extraordinary architectural icon and living arena for educational programs, performances, exhibitions, conferences and festivals, that will connect with off-site and online programs and activities aimed at engaging a global community in conservation and protection our biological heritage. MEMO will be at once cathedral and classroom, theatre and observatory – dedicated to a broad cultural quest to rediscover awe at the true wonder of the diversity of life that is our world.
above left: MEMO bells designed and cast on-site on Portland by sculptor Marcus Vergette.
above right: Edward Norton, UN ambassador for Biodiversity with MEMO bell. New York 2010.
MEMO has been celebrated by such luminaries as Sir David Attenborough, Edward O. Wilson, David Adjaye, and Prince Philip, as a great humanitarian enterprise. The Project is led by Sir Ghillean Prance, formerly of the New York Botanic Garden, who as Director of Kew Gardens, initiated the wonderful Millennium Seedbank. Support is wide-ranging, including scientific authorities such as the Royal Society, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the United Nations.
Artist’s impression of MEMO in-situ on the west cliffs of the Isle of Portland at the heart of the ‘Jurassic Coast’ Geological World Heritage Site. The very idea that species could go extinct was discovered here by “London’s Leonardo,” Robert Hooke, who found giant ammonite fossils in the Portland Stone quarried for the rebuilding of London’s public buildings following the Great Fire of 1666.
Artist’s impression of MEMO © Adjaye Associates
In the spring of 2014, the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation entered into a collaboration with the MEMO Project to expand the monument’s reach to global, wide-ranging audiences. Within this partnership, the Foundation will support off-site and online activities that will inspire and connect people with MEMO wherever they are, and build a renewed movement culture of citizens who are engaged in activities to preserve the living world.
MEMO at the Lyme Ridge Fossil Festival. 2009.
MEMO is the seed and soul of a renewed public engagement with biodiversity and species extinction, building knowledge and inspiring global action to address this vital moral issue of our time. Please support us in our quest to bring this necessary and inspiring project to fruition. Donate now.