Memoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) NUBS 4.25
Jul 05, 2023 13:30 - 15:00(Europe/London)
20230705T1330 20230705T1500 Europe/London 4.21. Monumental memoryscapes NUBS 4.25 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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On Falling Soviet Statues and Socialist Oblivion in Lithuania
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC
Following the demise of socialism in Lithuania in the early1990s, the removal of statues commemorating Soviet ideologues, Red Army generals, and Party apparatchiks became an important strategy for erasing the memory of the Marxist-Leninist past, seen by many as shameful and painful. Countless effigies depicting Communist leaders were unceremoniously toppled and hauled out of public view as jubilant crowds cheered on. Untouched in this massive campaign of national forgetting were the statues of the Green Bridge, a Stalinist structure built in 1952 and located in downtown Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Portraying pairs of youthful workers, collective farmers, soldiers, and intelligentsia, these statues towered on the bridge for more than a quarter-century after socialism's collapse, until they were dismantled by the municipal government in the summer of 2015. 
Using data collected through ethnographic fieldwork, in this paper I will reflect on why the statues of the Green Bridge inhabited the cityscape of postsocialist Vilnius for as long as they did. I will propose that they outlasted other specimens of Soviet art because many Lithuanians, especially those who lived their adult lives under Communist rule (1940-1991), viewed them not so much as enduring reminders of state-sponsored Marxist-Leninist propaganda but as "nostalgic" representations of their biographical past as Soviet subjects. Further, I will discuss how the delayed de-Sovietization of the Green Bridge became implicated in intergenerational debates regarding the social value of remembering the nation's Communist history and heritage. As well, the paper will consider the ways in which the momentous changes on this iconic bridge animated moral deliberations concerning not only Lithuania's socialist past but also its "capitalist" present and future. 
Presenters
GL
Gediminas Lankauskas
Associate Professor, University Of Regina
Forgotten Battlefield: [re]interpretation of time, place and memory
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
The impact of preserving and cultivating collective memory continues to be crucial contribution in dealing with complicated past in the post-conflict society. Forgotten Battlefield draws a parallel between a personal quest for fragments of the past – a time period encapsulated in a life of a teenager living under the siege, deciphering and reinterpreting memories decades later – and an open platform to sustain collective memory of the old and new generations.  In search of the specific site where a young girl's father was killed, this investigative study aims to re-construct the physical boundaries of the western siege of Sarajevo in the period of 1992-1995, which was one of the most complex frontlines in Sarajevo, due to having all three ethnic groups controlling parts of a relatively small area at the intersection of several suburban neighborhoods at a very strategic point of the city. 
In the process of reconstruction and post-war recovery, the scars and physical evidence of the frontline are essentially non-existent. Thirty years later, these neighborhoods have transformed from a semi-rural to a more suburban living areas, with expansive retail/housing developments and absence of any physical evidence of the siege. The battlefields saturated with blood and bravery lay forgotten and unmarked, remaining as fragmented memory of survivors and those searching for more answers of their lost ones. 
The idea of unveiling layers of place, identity and textures are woven together with threads of emotion to coexist timelessly and absorb another person into the exquisite veil of experience, creating a series of new memories. 
Assembled segments of military and civilian witness reports, maps and satellite images of the frontlines further elaborates and visually defines fragmented history of how Sarajevo's frontline and its siege fluctuated, permeated surrounding boundary and what strategic plans aided to sustain its perimeter borders. Visual language and layers of interpretation attempt to bring the failing memory back to the viewer. How can we constructively continue with reconciliation if both young and old generations are missing fundamental pieces to weave (and repair) our collective fabric of storytelling?
Biography
Born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Selma Ćatović Hughes left her war-torn country on the brink of culmination of a 3-year conflict. After completing her Master's degree in Architecture, Selma has worked in the field of architecture and design over 20 years. The focus in her personal work has been influenced by the extraordinary circumstances while growing up during the war, contemplating the everyday ordinary – daily events, materials, objects, environments – and searching for the unusual. Intrigued by the ritual of (un)veiling, layering and phenomenal beauty, Selma has experimented on a number of mixed media projects of different scales, materials and functionality, creating transformations from plain to desirable. Her ongoing research about memory and trauma began as a subconscious form of therapy and articulating these findings visually became part of a collection of remembering and forgetting and their effects on an individual and collective memory. Selma teaches Design Foundations at AUS.







Presenters
Selma Ćatović Hughes
Adjunct Faculty, American University Of Sharjah, College Of Architecture, Art And Design, UAE
Unresolved Tensions: Representing the East German Experience across Berlin’s Memoryscape
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
"People felt like their history was taken away from them" (former citizen of the German Democratic Republic, GDR). Freed from authoritarianism and economic stagnation, former socialist countries were set on the path to democracy and modern progress, or so the story goes according to a Western liberalist perspective (Mark et al., 2019). A critical look at the representations of Germany's socialist history exposes the biased politics of memory-making that continues to dominate Berlin's memoryscape: Museums and memorials either centre a narrative of oppression and trauma (e.g., the Stasi Prison Hohenschönhausen) or that of an 'ostalgic' [East nostalgia] everyday life (e.g., the GDR Museum). Both narratives construct the Soviet Sector as an essentialised space, containing an imagined Other, in turn feeding an imagined 'us' (Said, 1979; Anderson, 2006). Using Affect Theory, I suggest that institutionalised images of the GDR influence who feels represented by the German state and who feels marginalised. Rather than reinforcing binary judgements by asking: "The GDR: trauma site or lost paradise?", my analysis, including interviews with former citizens of the GDR, seeks to compare the intentions with which institutions and witnesses construct memory and how affect circulates between them. I suggest that foregrounding the affective expressions of testifiers enables a fresh understanding of the paradoxical nature of life under a dictatorship. I conclude by commending the potential of artistic approaches to memory-making (e.g., Yadegar Asisi's Wall Panorama) for conveying history not as reductive, officialised knowledge but as a matter of additive contention.  
Presenters
HK
Helena Kruder
Graduate Student , University Of Cambridge
‘Where the Aura of a Tyrant Remains’: Absent Presence and Mnemonic Remains of Socialist-Era Monuments
Individual paperMemoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
My paper will be dedicated to the absent presence and mnemonic remains of the socialist-era monuments in eastern Europe. I will introduce the notion of mnemonic remains which directs our attention to the physical absence of monuments after their removal. But it also speaks of a monument's role in absentia, its continued existence in and its effects on the collective memory beyond its physical presence. The phenomenon, sporadically acknowledged but rarely subject of investigation in academic literature, will be explored and illustrated through the lens of the removed V.I. Lenin monument in Riga, Latvia. The absent monument, I contend, performs the function of a phantom monument, exerting mnemonic agency beyond its physical presence through its representational value for other memory projects. This will be highlighted through the study of the proposed and completed, but never unveiled monument to Konstantīns Čakste on the site of the former Lenin monument in Riga.
Presenters Dmitrijs Andrejevs
Dr, The University Of Manchester
Adjunct faculty
,
American University of Sharjah, College of Architecture, Art and Design, UAE
Graduate student
,
University of Cambridge
Dr
,
The University Of Manchester
Associate Professor
,
University of Regina
Research Associate
,
Newcastle University
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