Creative Approaches to Memory USB 2.022
Jul 06, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230706T0900 20230706T1030 Europe/London 5.16. Generations and memory USB 2.022 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Resistant Backward Looking – Women Artists Confronting Past Violence.
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 09:00 AM - 10:30 AM (Europe/London) 2023/07/06 08:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 09:30:00 UTC
In my presentation I would like to share an excerpt from my current research project entailed: The Wives of Lot. Feminine Forms of Remembering, Testifying and Looking at the Past / Violence that concentrates on creative approaches to memory, specifically by women artists of the second half of the 20th century such as Marlene Dumas, Miriam Cahn, Chantal Akerman, Sophie Ristelhueber, Yael Bartana, and is inspired by Kiki Smith's 1997 sculpture Lot's Wife. My objective is to closely examine the visual resistant acts of looking and remembering which have emerged specifically in the aftermath of such events as political transformation of 1989, the war in former Yugoslavia, or the end of apartheid in South Africa. The artists whose work I discuss have responded to these events in their work in numerous ways.
The question that follows, is: what communities can these acts bring about, what cultures of memory. The resistant backward looking or - to use Nicholas Mirzoeff's words - exercising one's "right to look" at violence determine our present moment and the ways we imagine our futures and are hopeful in that they seeks to undo the existent legacies by opening up the past, disrupting the collective narrative and offering a different one. As Susan Buck-Morss convincingly claimed: "Nothing keeps history univocal except power. (…) It is not that truth is multiple or that the truth is a whole ensemble of collective identities with partial perspectives. Truth is singular, but it is a continuous process of inquiry because it builds on a present that is moving ground." This "moving ground" today is what Marianne Hirsch named the "vulnerable times," (or times of vulnerability) which has an affective shape of "a frustration with the unforgiving temporality of trauma and catastrophe, the sense of inexorable repetition of the past in the present and future in which injury cannot be healed or repaired, but lives on, shattering worlds in its wake." In my presentation I will concentrate on several artistic acts of memory and gendered, resistant forms of looking that emerge more or less at the same time as the trauma studies in the Western academia to embrace the impossibility of witnessing and addressing the ongoing political violence and the heritage of racism and genocide. This presentation will be a contribution to the analysis of the role visual arts play in providing new histories, new visions and unique strategies devised by women to expose, confront and attempt to work through the violence against women and other disenfranchised, subjugated, minoritarian social and political groups and individuals. It relates to a long discussion on how art actually acts in the social and political field and will include both "modest acts of repair" and projects of bigger scope in the hope to support what Mieke Bal called "small-scale resistances" and what Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick described as "middle ranges of agency" which provide a "space for effectual creativity and change."








Presenters Katarzyna Bojarska
Assistant Professor, SWPS University Warsaw
Aesthetic Processes in Communitarian Memory Practices
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
How does memory work, assuming that is has an essentially open and productive potential rather than a merely retrospective and reproductive character? What are the procedures and consequently the conditions that must be fulfilled for memory to work in a transformative way? In my paper I argue that free, non-manipulated stimulation of the human senses and imagination inspires and promotes the work of memory and sets its liberating potential into motion, especially if it occurs in communitarian practice. Communitarian memory often arises in groups of persons who suffered abuses, injustice, and violations of their rights. Memory is then shared with others who had a similar fate. But communitarian memory is not an exclusive matter of and for victims. It embraces all people who are open to share experiences and processes which make converge the times. Communitarian memory, on the other hand, opens up to a large spectrum of actions, which not only includes recalling and depicting in multiple ways what happened, but also moving, uniting and bringing together many different moments, aspects, and possibilities, making feel the unknown, ignored or repressed, creating critical views, and opening questions which connect different places and times. Thus, for communitarian initiatives, memory is not a "thing of the past" in the sense of a completed time, but something that concerns a continuous present past, which includes also the future. In order to illustrate and make tangible the ideas on incomplete history, open and dynamic remembrance, and communitarian practices which make use of important aesthetic processes for the purpose of activating the transforming potential of memory, I will finally present and discuss in my paper some examples of the Colombian context. 
Presenters Ana María Rabe
Full Professor, Universidad De Antioquia
Nicolae Ceausescu's Official Portrait in the Memory of Romania’s Generation X
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
This paper aims to explore the impact of Nicolae Ceausescu's last official portrait in the collective memory of children and teenagers in the 80s, the age group born in Romania between 1974 and 1984. This cohort witnessed the collapse of communism and the transition to democracy, becoming adults in an age of uncertainty, much as the youngsters depicted by Douglas Coupland in his iconic novel - Generation X (Coupland, 1991).
The Romanian leader cult had reached unprecedented heights in the 80s, a decade of sacrifices imposed by political and economic decisions of Nicolae Ceausescu's dictatorial rule. Facing their childhood memories, 70 subjects share their feelings regarding the former dictator's ubiquitous public image, painted for them as a "Father Figure" by the state propaganda.
The qualitative data, collected in 2021, 32 years after the fall of communism, shed light on important issues such as collective trauma (Tileaga 2012), nostalgia (Matejova 2018), filiation and continuity (Volkan 1995), transitional justice (Mitroiu 2016). Are the traces of that time frame extinguished from the consciousness of this generation, or do they continue to haunt mentalities and influence decisions in present-day Romania? And, most importantly, does this generation own its place in the recent history of the country, or are they just "a historically invalidated human mass" (Majuru 2006)?
Presenters Alexandru Stanescu
PhD Student, Center Of Excellence In Image Studies
The Primary Source Programme : Inspiring young people to share and preserve community memory
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
'The Primary Source Programme' is a unique example of Enquiry and Project Based Learning (EPBL) currently taking place in the North East, utilising documentary film and photographic artefacts from the esteemed AmberSide Collection to inspire children and young people to explore the heritage on their doorstep. Amber Co-Director Bryan Dixon, will introduce the programme and explain its development, adaptation and creation drawn from his own documentary practice, to become a flagship documentary delivery model with deep intergenerational engagement, revered by the art education and heritage sectors. 
The presentation will illuminate the origins of this work, and its connection to the work and practice of the Amber Film and Photography Collective. The presentation will explain the project delivery methodology and evidence its impact and outcomes for pupils, as they are trained in documentary film and photography techniques, to inspire an interrogation of the world on their doorstep. Film evidence will show pupils working closely with members of their local community, creating new relationships of understanding as they explore the AmberSide Collection and spend time visiting linked local sites of interest and significance. A meticulous approach to high quality  project delivery leads to memorable creative film and photographic outputs, that reflect an authentic documentary engagement, where respect and reverence is given to individual and collective memory, to provide deeper, and more meaningful connections to people and place. 
The communities involved in this work, it can be argued have suffered a sustained trauma, from the manor in which such historic industries such as shipbuilding were closed down. It will show the impact on older members of the community, offered the opportunity to engage with children and to proudly share stories from their working lives.
The PowerPoint presentation will include a range of Audio Visual material taken from the AmberSide Collection and directly from the projects themselves, featuring films and photographs generated by participating pupils. It will also feature the summary findings of PhD fieldwork research, shared in 2020, which details the project impact upon pupils, teachers, elderly community participants and also the wider community. It will conclude with the future plans for the programme having recently secured a further three years of funding from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation. 
The presentation will feature the deconstruction of the project 'Shipbuilding on the Tyne' and will reference clips from the following film; 
https://vimeo.com/392037829


Presenters Bryan Dixon
Co-Director, Amber Film And Photography Collective CIC
Full Professor
,
Universidad de Antioquia
PhD Student
,
Center of Excellence in Image Studies
Co-Director
,
Amber Film and Photography Collective CIC
Assistant Professor
,
SWPS University Warsaw
Assistant Professor
,
Bond University
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