Memoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) NUBS 2.10
Jul 07, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230707T0900 20230707T1030 Europe/London 8.6. Interdisciplinary and multimodal perspectives on mnemonic communities: Initiatives, mechanisms, and media in the post-Yugoslav space

This panel examines the relationship between collective memory and remembrance practices, and the mechanisms, loci, and trajectories of community-formation. The panel brings together three interdisciplinary papers that trace the involvement of regional and local collective memories and remembrance practices in the formation and persistence of analog, digital, and hybrid communities of practice and affect. Zooming in on the post-Yugoslav space, the papers illuminate the significance of top-down and grassroots memory activism, comparing these initiatives to, and contrasting them with with spontaneously activated commemoration triggered by publicly resonant events and initiatives. Ana Dević and Peter Vermeersch's paper focuses on post-war commemoration practices and memorialization, interrogating the societal impact of different remembrance forms, and employing a transnational comparative perspective to discuss in which the conflictual past can be retold, reframed and, ultimately, remembered, and to highlight the significance of grassroots communal efforts in the process. Jasmina Šepetavc and Natalija Majsova's contribution uses post-Yugoslav film cultures as a vantage point for questioning the distinction between top-down and grassroots remembrance practices and related communities of practice. Focussing on the role of film festivals in remembrance practices and collective-memory mediation in the region, the authors highlight how remembrance initiatives are entangled with post-socialist infrastructures and networks on the one hand, and modern private and public funding mechanisms on the other. Aljoša Pužar's paper also discusses the conditions of possibility of mnemonic communities, unpacking the affective logic of their formation and momentum. Pužar e ...

NUBS 2.10 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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This panel examines the relationship between collective memory and remembrance practices, and the mechanisms, loci, and trajectories of community-formation. The panel brings together three interdisciplinary papers that trace the involvement of regional and local collective memories and remembrance practices in the formation and persistence of analog, digital, and hybrid communities of practice and affect. Zooming in on the post-Yugoslav space, the papers illuminate the significance of top-down and grassroots memory activism, comparing these initiatives to, and contrasting them with with spontaneously activated commemoration triggered by publicly resonant events and initiatives. Ana Dević and Peter Vermeersch's paper focuses on post-war commemoration practices and memorialization, interrogating the societal impact of different remembrance forms, and employing a transnational comparative perspective to discuss in which the conflictual past can be retold, reframed and, ultimately, remembered, and to highlight the significance of grassroots communal efforts in the process. Jasmina Šepetavc and Natalija Majsova's contribution uses post-Yugoslav film cultures as a vantage point for questioning the distinction between top-down and grassroots remembrance practices and related communities of practice. Focussing on the role of film festivals in remembrance practices and collective-memory mediation in the region, the authors highlight how remembrance initiatives are entangled with post-socialist infrastructures and networks on the one hand, and modern private and public funding mechanisms on the other. Aljoša Pužar's paper also discusses the conditions of possibility of mnemonic communities, unpacking the affective logic of their formation and momentum. Pužar explores the communal aspect of remembrance practices in the context of immediate and abrupt memorialization, describing the relationship between post-Yugoslav collective memory, and modern popular and celebrity cultures; in doing so, his contribution offers starting points for comparing mnemonic communities of affect in a transnational perspective. Together, the three contributions tackle the relationship between memory and community-formation from a multimodal perspective, progressing from the realm of institutionalized remembrance to structures of feeling and affect, and offering insights into the impact of memory and remembrance in the contexts of political science, sociology, cultural and media studies, and anthropology.



Ana Dević, Peter Vermeersch (KU Leuven)

Restoring society from below? Inclusive commemorations and artistic activism versus competitive victimhood after mass atrocity in the former Yugoslavia

How should we understand the relationship between remembrance, violence and societal repair in the former Yugoslavia, a place where no consensus over the past has been reached even several decades after the end of the most recent wars? (And where transitional justice is the globally accepted (imposed EU) norm of that repair). It is often assumed that, when a conflict is officially over, the atrocities of the past should never be forgotten and therefore always commemorated (in the form of memorials, cemeteries, heritage sites, etc.). To overcome the traumas of war, so the reasoning goes, we have to recognize, mark, and remember the pain. But it often turns out that the very imperative to commemorate also nurtures resentment, reinvigorates violence, and creates conflict along old (or sometimes even new) lines. This paper addresses the question of remembrance after mass atrocity by studying a range of post war memorialization and commemoration practices and the effects that different forms of remembrance can have on a society in the post Yugoslav space. We juxtapose the destructive effects of certain memorialization and commemoration initiatives with the restorative potential of others, in particular initiatives that have been started from below and have an artistic and activist ambition. We find it helpful to place the study in a comparative transnational perspective linking the damaging forms of post Yugoslav remembrance to revisionist frames of memory of the Cold War mandated in the European Union, and being reflected in the post socialist region. In this wider context, our focus is on the different ways in which the conflictual past can be retold, reframed and, ultimately, remembered. First, we discuss initiatives for commemoration that have purposefully undermined opportunities for critical reflection and reconciliation, and may thereby perpetuate violence and lead to new forms of destruction. Second, we show how bottom-up movements (e.g. artistic interventions, spontaneous memorials, cultural rituals) provide pathways to societal repair three decades after the beginning of the war.


Jasmina Šepetavc, Natalija Majsova (University of Ljubljana)

Local film festivals, Balkan film, and collective memory in the post-Yugoslav space

The presentation explores how the selection and curation of "Balkan" film programmes at film festivals contribute to the construction and transformation of regional identities. In parallel, the authors analyse how film festivals in the post-Yugoslav space function as agents of collective and cultural memory. In doing so, they address the notable rise of different types of small, and thematically or formally specific film festivals in the post-Yugoslav space over the last two decades, as well as their different levels of interconnectedness (thematic, organisational, etc.). It also highlights how film festivals contribute to the contemporary understanding of the Balkans through curating and experimenting with festival formats, contents and forms. The aims, purposes and strategies that festivals use to highlight post-Yugoslav and Balkan film production, the relationship between the signifiers post-Yugoslav and Balkan film, and the formal and thematic features of post-Yugoslav and Balkan film production screened at such – locally oriented and, at least to some extent, experimentally oriented – festivals, are examined. Presenting a review of regional festivals with a strong focus on Balkan or post-Yugoslav film production, and contextualised case studies, the authors also show that film festivals have not only been key promoters of regional film production and transnational industry integration over the last decade, but also key actors in the constructions of the idea and identity of "Balkan cinema". While the label 'Balkan film' is thus grounded in collective memory (not only of the post-Yugoslav cultural space but also of the wider region), it is also a contemporary regional response to the history of stereotyping of the Balkans on the one hand, and the region's complex relationship with the European Union on the other. In addition to the representational and production dimensions of the signifier Balkan film, this paper also sheds light on issues of distribution, curation and networks as key to understanding its utopian potential for thinking memory in relation to the future.


Aljosa Puzar (University of Ljubljana)

Post-Yugoslav communities of affect and the frenzy of abrupt memorialization

The contribution will tackle the affective aspect of the immediate and often abrupt memorialization process, happening upon the news of someone's demise, and in large part depending on digital communication and social media. It will use the case study of the mass-mourning and immediate (discursive, affective, and material) memorialization of the prominent Serbian and Yugoslav singer, poet and novelist Đorđe Balašević to show a necessity for better methodological solutions and theoretical interpretations for the abrupt memorialization. The waves of this immediate process usually encompass the expected and often planned or pre-prepared structural or systemic actions by media outlets, associations, governmental bodies, etc., with related vertical-into-horizontal mass-scale attunements and synchronizations on one hand, and the pseudo-grassroots activities of memorialization on the other. The latter activities, rather than being emancipatory or autonomous are interpreted as affectively dependent on the broader underlying structures of feeling, as they often present themselves as an affective overspill caused by the misplacement or displacement of pre-existing structural strains (for instance, of the affective accumulations related to the violent and socially unjust transition of the corrupt post-Yugoslav states). A specific taxonomy of mass-mourning and related practices of memorialization will be proposed, along with some insights into specific function of so called "popular heroes" in these processes.

Associate Research Fellow
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KU Leuven
Professor
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KU Leuven
Assistant Professor
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University of Ljubljana
Associate Professor
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University of Ljubljana
Associate Professor
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University of Ljubljana
 Gal Kirn
Postdoc/researcher
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University of Ljubljana
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