«‘Disturbing Pasts: Memories, Controversies and Creativity’ Project Conference Museum of Ethnology, Vienna 20-22 November 2012 Image copyright: ...»
‘Disturbing Pasts: Memories,
Controversies and Creativity’
Museum of Ethnology, Vienna
20-22 November 2012
Image copyright: Ziyah Gafic. Tuzla, Bosnia, December 2009. Personal
item recovered from mass graves and photographed on forensic table.
Photo by Ziyah Gafic / VII network.
DISTURBING PASTS: MEMORIES, CONTROVERSIES AND CREATIVITY
Tuesday 20th November
Panel 1: 3pm – 6pm
CULTURAL LOSS AND FRAGMENTED HERITAGE3 hours (with comfort break) Chair Leon Wainwright Part I 3pm - 4.30pm Peju Layiwola Making Meaning of a Fragmented Past: 1897 and the Creative Process T. Shanaathanan Architecture of Memory/ Memory of Architecture: Art, Memory and Conflict in Sri Lanka Paul Lowe The Forensic Turn and the Thingness of Photographs Break Part II 5pm - 6pm Shan McAnena Too Big to Fail: Remembering the Titanic in Belfast Simon Faulkner Reversing the Flow of Time
Museum of Ethnology opening event for the exhibition:
Fetish Modernity: Immer und Überall Wednesday 21st November Panel 2: 9.30am - 12pm
COLONIAL PASTS AND THE EXHIBITIONARY ORDER
2.5 hours; Chair Barbara Plankensteiner Liv Ramskjær Break! On the unpleasant, the marginal, taboos, the invisible or controversial in Norwegian museum exhibitions Clara Himmelheber The Exhibition »Namibia − Germany: A Shared/Divided History.
Resistance, Violence, Memory« (Cologne, Berlin 2004/2005) Dierk Schmidt Some Notes on the Project “The Division of the Earth – Tableaux on the Legal Synopses of the Berlin Africa Conference” Anette Hoffmann Echoes of the Great War Susan Legêne Mallaby’s Car: Perspectives on an English, Dutch, Indonesian and Indian Decolonization Clash LUNCH Panel 3: 1.30pm – 3.30pm
REMEMBERING JEWS AND THE HOLOCAUST2 hours; Chair Simon Faulkner Erica Lehrer Cur(at)ing Jewish History in Poland: Experiments Observed and Undertaken Rafał Betlejewski "I Miss You, Jew!" Re-writing Polish Identity: Including Jedwabne into the Collective Narrative Margit Berner Face and Death Masks in the Anthropological Collection of the Natural History Museum, Vienna
Uilleam Blacker Remembering Jews and the Holocaust in Contemporary Poland:
the Work of Joanna Rajkowska, Rafał Betlejewski and Yael Bartana Break Panel 4: 4pm – 6.30pm
TAINTED LANDSCAPES, TRAUMA AND PUBLIC SPACE
2.5 hours; Chairs Maruska Svasek and Uilleam Blacker Rita Duffy Remember Who You Are Sigrid Lien Addressing the Landscape: Postcolonial Experiences in
Evening meal, 7.30pm Thursday 22nd November Panel 5: 9.30am – 1pm
DIASPORA, DISPLACEMENT AND HOME3 hours (with comfort break) Chairs Julia Binter and Elizabeth Edwards Part I 9.30am - 11am Carol Tulloch Insert Here: Curating Difference Wayne Modest Ninety-Six Degrees in the Shade: Colouring in Absent Images Christopher Cozier Artist’s presentation
Bente Geving Margit Ellinor: Forgotten Images www.open.ac.uk/Arts/disturbing-pasts Please note it will be possible to make available personal publicity fliers at the conference. Please contact Julia Binter for further information (Julia.Binter@ethnomuseum.ac.at).
ABSTRACTS AND BIOGRAPHIESPanel 1: CULTURAL LOSS AND FRAGMENTED HERITAGE Peju Layiwola Peju Layiwola is a visual artist and art historian with an active studio practice as well as a strong commitment to research. She has had several art exhibitions locally and internationally. Her most recent travelling exhibition and edited book, entitled Benin
1897.com: Art and the Restitution Question, is an artistic exploration of the Benin/British encounter of 1897. She has published several articles on the visual culture of Nigeria.
Presently, she teaches art and art history at the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Nigeria.
Making Meaning of a Fragmented Past: 1897 and the Creative Process One of the most traumatic experiences that occurred in Africa at the turn of the nineteenth century is the Benin/British encounter of 1897. The plundering of thousands of works of art from the palace of the king of Benin by the British, now spread across several museums in the West, continues to be an issue that keeps recurring. Ever since that episode, 1897 has become a theme which is explored by various artists in Nigeria in a variety of genres. This paper attempts to discuss some of the artistic engagement with this theme and how artists have sought to recapture the past in a variety of media.
T.Shanaathanan studied painting at the University of Delhi (BFA, MFA) and received his PhD from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has exhibited widely and his recent shows includes Mismatches 2011,Colombo, The One Year Drawing Project Exhibition 2009, Devi Art Foundation, Delhi, and Art Asia Pacific Triennial APTG 2009/20010, Brisbane, Border Zones: New Art Across Cultures 2010, Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver and “Artful Resistance; New Art from Sri Lanka”, 2008/2009, Museum of Ethnology, Vienna. His two art-book projects “The One Year Drawing Project” (2008), and “The Incomplete Thompu” (2011) were commissioned and published by Raking Leaves, London. He is currently a senior lecturer in art history in the Department of Fine Arts, University of Jaffna.Sri Lanka.
Shanaathanan works in mixed media and installation. His artistic oeuvre explicitly confronts the impact of the Sri Lankan civil war on the individual.
Architecture of Memory/ Memory of Architecture: Art, Memory and Conflict in Sri Lanka Thirty years of civil war in Sri Lanka came to an end through the government’s military imitative in 2009, which created a divide between winners and losers, without healing the scars and wounds. Hence the conflict has been revitalized at a psychological level. In the absence of psycho-social support, and through state prohibition on civil memorials and surveillance on memorizing rituals, the individuals involved are abandoned to face feelings of loss and memories of a traumatic past. This presentation, based on my three art projects – ‘History of Histories’, ‘Imag(e)in Home’ and ‘The Incomplete Thompu’ – attempt to reveal the prospect of connecting these individuals through the concept of collective loss.
Dr Simon FaulknerDepartment of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Simon Faulkner is a senior lecturer in art history and visual culture at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is the programme leader for BA Contemporary Art History.
His general research interests are in relationships between politics and visual culture, with a focus on conflict and on the elaboration/development of political imaginaries through visual practices. He has published on the subject of British art in the mid-twentieth century, with a particular focus on David Hockney, R. B. Kitaj, and John Minton. He is the editor (with Anandi Ramamurthy) of Visual Culture and Decolonisation in Britain (Ashgate, 2006) and (with James Aulich and Lucy Burke) of The Politics of Cultural Memory (2010). His current research is on relationships between visual culture and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with a focus on aspects of contemporary Israeli and Palestinian art practice and upon photography from different genres. This work includes the development of an artist/writer’s book Between States, with the Israeli artist David Reeb. His latest publication is ‘THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED WALL IN THE WORLD’, in: Photographies (vol 5, no. 2, August 2012).
Reversing the Flow of Time This paper has two starting points. The first is the experience of seeing Gerhard Richter’s well-known painting cycle October 18, 1977 (worked from images related to the deaths of members of the Red Army Faction) at Tate Modern in late 2011. The second is the reading of various texts by Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, and Jodi Dean that address consensual political forms within contemporary society. Richter’s paintings appear to be concerned with a past of political extremism and fit with a broader ‘reversal of the flow of time’ that Rancière identifies in contemporary rejections of utopianism. Instead of looking to the future of a new world we are encouraged to look to the traumatic past of political violence and in so doing see the legitimacy of the consensual present. Richter’s written rejections of ‘extreme’ political ideology seem to affirm such a framing of his paintings, yet other statements suggest that these works can be read via a more utopian outlook. Can these artworks be re-read in terms of a counter-reversal of the reversal of the flow of time? And in this way can they be linked to Rancière’s concern to re-affirm litigious politics in a context of consensus; or Badiou’s commitment to ‘the idea of communism’; or Dean’s identification of the ‘communist horizon’?
As such can these paintings function as the focal point for ruminations on relationships to particular disturbing pasts?
Paul Lowe Paul is the Course Director of the Masters programme in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, and an award-winning photographer. His work is represented by Panos Pictures, and has been published in Time, Newsweek, Life, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Observer and The Independent, amongst many others. He has covered breaking news the world over, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela, famine in Africa, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and the destruction of Grozny. He is currently researching the relationship of photography and conflict, in particular the coverage of the war in the former Yugoslavia. He is a consultant to the World Press Photo foundation in Amsterdam, on online education of professional photojournalists in the majority world.
His book, Bosnians, documenting 10 years of the war and post-war situation in Bosnia, was published in April 2005 by Saqi books.
The Forensic Turn and the Thingness of Photographs This paper explores the possibility that the act of bearing witness to past atrocities can be located in the photograph itself, rather than in the photographer, and that the unique material qualities of the image serve to enhance its role as a social agent in its own right. The genre of ‘aftermath’ photography is well established, but this paper will examine the photographic representation of objects and things rather than landscapes in order to emphasise the 'thinginess of the photograph'. The paper uses case studies from the conflict in the former Yugoslavia to expand on its themes.
Panel 2: COLONIAL PASTS AND THE EXHIBITIONARY ORDER Liv Ramskjaer, Arts Council Norway Liv Ramskjaer is Senior Adviser in the museums section of the Norwegian Arts Council. Arts Council Norway is the main governmental operator for the implementation of Norwegian cultural policy. It functions as an advisory body to the central government and public sector on cultural affairs, and is fully financed by Norway’s Ministry of Culture. With a staff of around 100 individuals, since 2011, Arts Council Norway has also managed governmental initiatives in the museum and archive sectors.
Liv Ramskjær works with a broad range of topics connected to the Norwegian museum sector. For more than a decade she was Chief Curator at The Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, Oslo. Liv is an historian, with ethnology and anthropology as subsidiary subjects for her master’s degree, and has mostly contributed to books and articles
in history of technology, business and industry. Topics of earlier research include:
Norwegian shipping, the history of electricity, the development of chains for the distribution of gasoline. At presently she is studying the production and utilization of plastic materials in modern Norway, 1945-1990. Her latest article, published in 2011, deals with the earliest years of the development of the Norwegian plastic boat industry.
Break! On the unpleasant, the marginal and taboo, and the invisible or controversial in Norwegian museum exhibitions The scheme Break was launched in 2003 by the Norwegian government through Arts Council Norway, encouraged by a critical approach to museums and their way of dealing with controversial truths. The main purpose was to encourage museums to ask critical questions and to treat taboo topics and difficult stories at the heart of Norwegian society.
This paper will focus on the governmental strategies for encouraging museums to be bolder, and the struggles and effort involved in fulfilling these strategies, specifically the adaptation of the results of Break in society. Was the scheme a success in stimulating critical reflection and daring?
Dr Clara Himmelheber Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Cultures of the World, Cologne
The Exhibition »Namibia − Germany: A Shared/Divided History. Resistance, Violence, Memory« (Cologne, Berlin 2004/2005) The year 2004 was the centenary of the outbreak of a colonial war in former German South West Africa in which thousands of Africans were killed by the colonial power. Although of crucial importance for Namibia, the war has not entered public memory in Germany. The exhibition aimed at presenting colonial history as well as the contemporary relationships between the two countries, showing a »shared« and a »divided« history.
The exhibition created a public debate which supported the initiative of the German Minister of Economic Co-operation and Development to deliver an apology at the commemoration in August 2004 in Namibia.
Dierk Schmidt Dierk Schmidt, (born 1965), is a Berlin-based artist and author. He is guest advisor and conducts workshops at various universities, among others the Royal College, London, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, and Berlin Weissensee School of Art.