Memory & Arts WG | Creative Approaches to Memory USB G.003
Jul 07, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230707T1100 20230707T1230 Europe/London 9.8. Memory & Arts Panel 2: Reading Memory Images

This panel explores the shifts in our experiences to visual language, exploring the impact of environment and social events across global and historical geographies. We will consider how we read art, design and photographic practices through direct and digital experience to consider how different technologies create visual codes of memory and new methodologies to re-approach the complexities of transgenerational experiences.By bringing various creative approaches into the discussion, we are able to show different visual semiotic codes to ask how we read images and relate them to individual and universal memory. Inevitably turning this to our present and future responsibility to ask how art might draw our attention to social and historical issues of a region, that inevitably moves us to a more global environmental engagement and consider the relations between individuals and communities of different ethnicities or nations.Rewind to a recent past many of us are still living through, the panel will consider the shifts in how we experience art to ask: what does it mean now to engage with visual language through the digital spaces versus the museum? And in turn, how does an on-going evolving historical and environment narrative affect our connection with the art gallery and museum as cultural agents and custodians of memory? Papers will show different versions of what art might be and how it is experienced to present how artistic practices uncover the remains of the past, while also providing multi-various approaches to focus our attention to the future and challenge the narrative to broaden our engagement with the visual subject.

Branislava Kuburović

Acknowledging Loss. Shaping Relations

This paper is proposed in the form of conversation and dialogue w ...

USB G.003 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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This panel explores the shifts in our experiences to visual language, exploring the impact of environment and social events across global and historical geographies. We will consider how we read art, design and photographic practices through direct and digital experience to consider how different technologies create visual codes of memory and new methodologies to re-approach the complexities of transgenerational experiences.
By bringing various creative approaches into the discussion, we are able to show different visual semiotic codes to ask how we read images and relate them to individual and universal memory. Inevitably turning this to our present and future responsibility to ask how art might draw our attention to social and historical issues of a region, that inevitably moves us to a more global environmental engagement and consider the relations between individuals and communities of different ethnicities or nations.
Rewind to a recent past many of us are still living through, the panel will consider the shifts in how we experience art to ask: what does it mean now to engage with visual language through the digital spaces versus the museum? And in turn, how does an on-going evolving historical and environment narrative affect our connection with the art gallery and museum as cultural agents and custodians of memory? Papers will show different versions of what art might be and how it is experienced to present how artistic practices uncover the remains of the past, while also providing multi-various approaches to focus our attention to the future and challenge the narrative to broaden our engagement with the visual subject.



Branislava Kuburović

Acknowledging Loss. Shaping Relations

This paper is proposed in the form of conversation and dialogue with the sculptor and performance artist Grace Schwindt about art as affective sharing of (traumatic) affect and finding options for encounters that are not led by violence of institutionalised systems that rely on exclusion, destruction, and violence. It presents alternatives to how we're supposed to deal with this world and with each other through art practice as a singular material and performative investigation into possibilities of agency, change, as well as care and attention.
Somewhat unexpectedly, it is through fiction and sculptural form that Grace Schwindt examines how historical events shape and influence social relationships and how historiography and memory are constructed. Her large-scale performative installations and interdisciplinary performances, and her sculptural works, are material renegotiations of social and personal traumatic histories that begin with dialogues focused on individual encounters and experiences. The creative process interprets these dialogues through fiction, interweaved with objects that propose and insist on the necessity for direct touch between individuals, a touch that invites closeness without the need to explain oneself and to allow being affected by each other. How can we address the difficulty, physically and philosophically, of accessing a destructive event through a creative act? The dialogue engages with how an awkward, uncomfortable tension or balance between fragility and strength, between corporeal frailty and apparent permanence of certain 'emptied' sculptural and performative forms can be seen to create a parallel topography that can retroact on accepted notions of culture and render what belongs inside or outside of the cultural sphere indeterminate and thus always potentially open to change.


Rebecca Harris

Making Artworks Present, or Embodiment and the Site of Self Inscription

What happens when we ask the identity and status of the narrative agent in the artwork? What is the "visual subject"(Bal) expressing itself in the image that constitutes the text? While recovering biographies from scraps is an act of protest against forgetting (Hertzberg), and the process of abstraction as an intuitive embodiment of memories, feelings, and desires (Safatly) relates also to process, of doing/undoing, as a form of resistance (Szapocznikow/Baron), how might we read beyond the specifying elements of the artist's biography to yield difference, incongruent "unrealized possibilities," in the words of Hirsch, "eventualities that resonate across time and space"? Feminist theory teaches us that by focusing on emotions as mediated rather than immediate reactions, we remind ourselves that knowledge cannot be separated from the bodily world of feeling and sensation. ( Ahmed) How might this support a reading of the art object as a response to, but also beyond the context of the maker's biography? What are the ways in which we read a work with reference to the named trauma, but not limit this reading and reduce it to a silent document of the past? Furthermore, the paper will discuss Hirsch's theory surrounding postmemory's connection to the past as mediated by "imaginative investment, projection, and creation" through a selection of contemporary artworks. Crossing geographical and theoretical boundaries to negotiate ideas of modality, materiality, conceptual analysis, I will attempt to extend Hirsch's belief that a retrospective glance at trauma can be expanded and redirected to open alternate temporalities to be more porous, more present and future orientated. Associating materiality and making to literary themes of translation, anachronisms and narratology I ask how can art reveal the micro narratives of our time and provide a multi directionality approach to thinking about the present. The paper will demonstrate a model to test conventions of interpretation, arguing for the application of alternative theoretical paradigms as opportunity to rethink the influence of visual creative practice as a dialogue with catastrophe and engagement with the experiences associated with memory studies today.


Irena Řehořová

Contaminated Memoryscape of the Sudetenland: Zdena Kolečková´s Art Projects

The artivism of Zdena Kolečková, Czech intermedia artist with Czech-German-Polish roots, focuses on the disinheritance of the Sudeten landscape and critically examines the transformation of the region. With the enforced displacement of Jews and Germans during and after the WWII, a significant part of the Sudetenland´s cultural identity vanished, to be superimposed by new communities which till today struggle to find their roots. Impact of social and cultural uprooting has been further exacerbated by decades of intensive contamination of local air, soil and streams from lignite mines, industrial sites and chemical plants. Environmental and social changes have had together a deep impact on the life of local communities.
This paper will introduce Kolečková´s artistic exhibition projects, for example Strange Botany and Other Stories (2018) in which she uses multiple means of artistic expression (installations, photography, drawings, performance) to draw attention to environmental as well as social and historical issues of the region. Her artistic practice, often combining affective modes of expression with scientific research, represents an intersection of intimate family memories, collective memory and memory of the landscape. She shows how in all these layers, traces of the past become more and more invisible: plant species are threatened with extinction, the German inscriptions on buildings, visual traces of former German presence, are covered with new layers of paint, the Sudeten dialect has almost disappeared, the expulsion is often neglected in public discourse, but continues to burden the relationship between Czechs and Germans.
However, Kolečková´s work is not only about uncovering the remains of the past, the focus is also on the future. In that sense, her works raise questions that are highly relevant today. How can we deal with disbalances in natural environment and in relations between individuals or communities of different ethnics or nations? How do we remember the past and envision our future when part of our cultural identity has been systematically neglected or lost?


Jan Miklas Frankowski

Deciphering family palimpsests: 'Pepper Forgers''

Sharon Macdonald claims that Europe has become a "'Memoryland'– obsessed with the disappearance of collective memory and its preservation" and where the 'memory phenomenon' is related to the changing nature of identities (Macdonald, 2013). According to Macdonald, institutional cultural agencies involved in past presencing played significant roles in the nineteenth century articulation of bounded, homogeneous identities. However, nowadays, they could encourage the creation of fluid, multiple and transcultural memories and identities. A similar process can be observed in many examples of Polish contemporary literary reportage. A relationship between collective memory and fiction or non fiction literature is hard to define unambiguously. However, it can be proved by an exceptional number of high level quality literary reportage books especially on the issue of Polish Jews, Polish Jewish relations, as well as the Holocaust issue edited in Poland. One of the examples of this process is 'Pepper forgers' by Monika Sznaderman, shortlisted in 2017 for the NIKE, the most prestigious Polish literary prize. 'Pepper forgers' consists of two parallel family stories – of father and mother; of Jews and the Polish – come in a different perspective after years of being passed over in silence. Sznajderman confronts the past of two families ("I cannot stop thinking about us eating sumptuous dinner in 1941 and us starving in a ghetto") and wonders how to combine a political vision of Poland free from Jews with the real mourning after Jewish neighbours death? The aim of my presentation is not only an attempt at analysing the Sznajderman's ' book as a process of working through a second generation postrauma and recovering repressed part of a family story, but I would also place it in the broader context of changes in Polish collective memory as Ricoer's counter-memory discourse, an act of resistance to canonical and hegemonic institutional discourses.

MA Fine Art Programme Leader, School of Art and Design
,
Prague City University, Czech Republic
PhD Researcher
,
Royal Holloway, University of London
Charles University, Prague
Dr
,
University of Gdańsk
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