Witnessing WG | Creative Approaches to Memory NUBS 2.10
Jul 06, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230706T0900 20230706T1030 Europe/London 5.12. Local, National, and International Encounters with Visual Memory

The post-industrial material and social landscape of the contemporary world, with its increased emphasis on motivating fundamental change, challenges the field of memory studies to make dynamic – often in real time – adjustments regarding how to commemorate, design, articulate, and preserve memory. The relevance and usefulness of remembering or preserving individual memory is mutable, reflecting varying, unpredictable and ever expanding alterations in the social world. Communities undergo constant shifts in identity, through dispersion, disruption, or reconstruction and create different manifestations of visual memory. Creative approaches to investigating, understanding, and guarding memory emerge in material and non-material ways to respond to such change. These approaches address shifting realities that increasingly make an impact on wider and even more disparate populations. An object of the panel is to disclose creative approaches to memory generated by individuals and communities that illustrate a commitment to change, or which aim in their fundamental goals a creating or perpetuating change. The ultimate goal is to identify useful methods and strategies for demonstrating the value of memory in the encounter with visual aspects of memory. Works emerge that inform individual, local, national, and international contexts and interrogate the ways in which institutional communities and practice change the expression of memory.

Li Shir

Portable Memory: Reshaping the Memory of the Camps through Photographic Images - Abraham Shayer's Holocaust MementosAfter his death in Tel Aviv in 1998, Abraham Shayer's family found peculiar objects in the inner pockets of his coats. Enshrined in small white envelopes were rectangular pieces of looking glass whi ...

NUBS 2.10 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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The post-industrial material and social landscape of the contemporary world, with its increased emphasis on motivating fundamental change, challenges the field of memory studies to make dynamic – often in real time – adjustments regarding how to commemorate, design, articulate, and preserve memory. The relevance and usefulness of remembering or preserving individual memory is mutable, reflecting varying, unpredictable and ever expanding alterations in the social world. Communities undergo constant shifts in identity, through dispersion, disruption, or reconstruction and create different manifestations of visual memory. Creative approaches to investigating, understanding, and guarding memory emerge in material and non-material ways to respond to such change. These approaches address shifting realities that increasingly make an impact on wider and even more disparate populations. An object of the panel is to disclose creative approaches to memory generated by individuals and communities that illustrate a commitment to change, or which aim in their fundamental goals a creating or perpetuating change. The ultimate goal is to identify useful methods and strategies for demonstrating the value of memory in the encounter with visual aspects of memory. Works emerge that inform individual, local, national, and international contexts and interrogate the ways in which institutional communities and practice change the expression of memory.



Li Shir

Portable Memory: Reshaping the Memory of the Camps through Photographic Images - Abraham Shayer's Holocaust Mementos

After his death in Tel Aviv in 1998, Abraham Shayer's family found peculiar objects in the inner pockets of his coats. Enshrined in small white envelopes were rectangular pieces of looking glass which he glued together to create two-sided mirrors. The earliest of those mirror-objects, framing a photograph taken in a Displaced Persons Camp in Berlin in 1946, revealed their mnemonic and devotional function in a singular work of mourning. The first in a series of photographic commemorations of the camps, Abraham's mirror-photo from the DP camp is the urtext of a very private history which, decades before the current paradigm shift of Holocaust remembrance in Israel, had already broken ranks with the dominant national narrative in favour of transnational and multidirectional forms of memory. This paper explores Abraham's portable mirror-images as literal carriers of memory, and as means of creative reimaging of the camps aiming to resist victimhood and dehumanization through the photographic image.


Stephanie Arel

Curated to Provoke Change: Visual Representations of Mass Trauma at Memorial Museums

This paper engages the role of the memorial museum in preserving the memory of suffering and mass trauma through visual representations, arguing that images and symbols provoke affective responses aimed at inciting change. The entry into analysis is through personal interviews and trauma theory. The paper therefore presents conversations with memorial museum workers who encounter images, symbols, and other visual articulations of trauma as an entry point into the dialectic of trauma situated between the will to deny horrible events and the will to say them aloud. On the side of proclamation, refuting denial, visual representations evoke feeling and intend to provoke a change in the viewer, a change also inspired in the worker. The paper features evidence from three communities responding to mass trauma through memorialization in Bosnia, Cambodia, and the United States. In these disparate contexts, the display of traumatic photographs, visual evidence of trauma, and visual evocations of the processing of trauma indicate an affective impact, a trajectory through the trauma dialectic, and an impulsion towards change in the betterment of each community.


Idit Gil

Visual Representations of Nazis in Israeli Theatre – Collective Memory of the Aesthetic as an Agent for Change

The paper examines the characteristics, roles and implications of visual elements such as costumes, props and make-up in Nazi characters in Israeli theatre. Theater is considered an important memory agent through the written play and the aesthetic performance. The Holocaust, which is a prominent element in Israeli collective memory, presents artists in general, playwrights, and directors with challenges and difficulties regarding representations and especially visual representations. The paper focuses on how four plays dealt with the following visual challenges: How to represent evil? How to separate between the actor and the characters portrayed? How, according to Adorno, to cope with the "'boundary situation'… [in which] the distinction between victim and executioner becomes blurred"[i]? The paper portrays how before the 1970's Nazi attire and symbols aroused strong emotional reactions from the audience, but since the 1980's, two directors used visual elements to emphasize the playwright's undeveloped verbal message of criticizing Israeli society. Thus, collective memory of the aesthetic becomes an agent to provoke change in the present.

Lecturer
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Beit Berl College, Israel
Instructor
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Fordham University
Dr.
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The Open University of Israel
Instructor
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Fordham University
PhD Researcher
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Royal Holloway, University of London
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