Updated on June 21st, 2018
Why Remember? Memory and Forgetting in Times of War and Its Aftermath
Three-Day Conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 27th-29th, 2018
Ruins, Remains and Reconstructions
3-Day Symposium in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, June 27th-29th, 2018, Hotel Europe
The conference begins at 13:00 on June 27th and concludes at 17:30 June 29th
John Lennon, author of Dark Tourism
Marina Gržinić, philosopher, theoretician and artist
Adla Isanović, Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of Sarajevo
Tom Young, artist
Ziyah Gafić, photographer
James Gow, Professor of International Peace and Security, King's College London
Sponsored by: London College of Communication, University of the Arts London; Salem State University Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, USA; De Montfort University, Leicester UK; Durham University Anthropology Department, UK; WARM Festival, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina; Manhattan College Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center, USA
Dr. Paul Lowe, University of the Arts, London, UK
Dr. Stephenie Young, Salem State University, USA
Professor Kenneth Morrison, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, Manhattan College, USA
Admir Jugo, Ph.D. Candidate, Durham University, UK
Velma Saric, Post-Conflict Research Center, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
In his book In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies, David Rieff questions whether the age-long “consensus that it is moral to remember, immoral to forget” still stands in our contemporary era. What should we remember, what should we forget, and why? Do we need to reconfigure the way that we think about memory and its potential impact on issues such as reconciliation and healing in the wake of war? Is memory impotent as a social, political, or aesthetic tool? Rieff’s questions appear more pertinent than ever as wars and conflicts continue to rage in many parts of the world with no end in sight.
These questions of memory (and forgetting) are intensely political and have far-reaching consequences. Yet, how do they reverberate in the context of post-war societies, post-conflict reconciliation, conflict prevention, questions of memory and past events? To what extent do we remember the past and how do we choose what to remember and why we remember? How could and should (consciously and unconsciously) memory processes shape the present and future? How might public institutions (such as museums and other heritage sites that support education/awareness) deal with the past? What is the difference between commemoration and memorialization? Where do they intersect and how might they impact the process of reconciliation and prevention?
For summer 2018 we continue the conversations on aesthetics that we initiated in our 2017 conference but with a more specific focus on “ruins, remains and reconstructions.” In his book The Texture of MemoryJames E. Young states that public art can often been static and is “seemingly frozen face in the landscape”. Presentations will consider the contemporary status of not only what “ruins or remains” are and how they are construed, but also the ways that post-conflict societies remember through reconstructions (material—such as renovations—or philosophical or theoretical). What are landscapes of memory? How do reconstructions remember memory? What kind of art is produced in conversation with remains and ruins? What is the role of remains (human/material) and ruins in relation to the communities that live with them? How are communities established around memorials and what impact might a memorial have on a community? What kind of role does visual culture, such as photography, play in these considerations?
This academic conference is part of the larger WARM festival, which takes place in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina each summer, and “is dedicated to war reporting, war art, war memory. WARM is bringing together people – journalists, artists, historians, researchers, activists – with a common passion for ‘telling the story with excellence and integrity’.” See this link for more information: http://www.warmfoundation.org
This event is free and open to the public.