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Four finalists picked for Washington future monuments design

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four finalists have been picked in a contest for monument designs in Washington, with proposals that include talking automated parrots and dying cherry trees, organizers said on Wednesday.

The contest aims to find alternatives to the crowded National Mall as a monument site and creative and less expensive ways to commemorate people and events in the U.S. capital.

The finalists “offer a variety of innovative approaches to share and add new narratives, and connect people and places from across the nation,” a National Park Service spokeswoman said in a statement.

One of the proposed designs, “Climate Chronograph,” showcases rising sea levels. It depicts receding shorelines by having rising waters flood rows of cherry trees along a ramped shore.

In a Washington neighborhood park, “Im(migrant)” commemorates journeys that people have taken through the U.S. landscape.

For “Voiceover,” parrot-like automated storytellers would hover over sites that could range from memorials to ordinary street corners. One would drop by periodically to tell passersby stories about the site.

In “American Wild,” the 59 U.S. national parks would be projected by high-definition video at full scale. The interactive memorial would include audio recordings.

The designs are aimed at providing examples of what new monuments in Washington might look like. Besides the National Park Service, the contest is organized by New York’s non-profit Van Alen Institute and the National Capital Planning Commission.

The contest was launched in April, and the four finalists were picked from 89 submissions. The winner will be named in September.

Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Steve Orlofsky