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Announcement
November 25, 2021

Counter-Monuments and Para-Monuments: Contested Memory in Public Space

Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK)

Annette Wehrmann, from the series "Blumensprengungen," 1991–95. Photo: Ort des Gegen e.V.

Counter-Monuments and Para-Monuments: Contested Memory in Public Space at Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK), with contributions by: Heba Y. Amin (artist), Ulf Aminde (artist), Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock (curator and researcher), Max Czollek (poet and journalist), Talya Feldman (artist), Eduard Freudmann (Artist), Julia Friedrich (Art Historian and Curator), Claas Gefroi (architecture theorist and journalist), Ayşe Güleç (curator, art educator, and activist researcher), Minna Henriksson (artist and artistic researcher), Lee Hielscher (researcher and activist), Leon Kahane (artist), Martin Krenn (artist, artistic researcher and curator), Tania Mancheno (researcher), Olu Oguibe (artist), Daniela Ortiz (artist and activist), Anja Steidinger (artist, Professor of Art Education, HFBK Hamburg), Stephan Trüby (architecture theorist and publicist), Mirjam Zadoff (historian and Director of the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism).

Since the Black Lives Matter movement at the latest, public memory has been highly contested again: Around the world, activists are toppling monuments, demanding the renaming of streets, intervening in historical narratives, and imagining other memorials. Based on a seminar by Michaela Melián and Nora Sternfeld in the summer semester of 2021, the conference at the HFBK Hamburg deals with debates about monuments in public space and the associated aesthetics and politics of memory. The aim is to bring together different forms of knowledge as well as artistic and activist strategies from the fields of anti-fascist memory politics, anti-racist memorial demands, and decolonial iconoclasms. In the process, we also encounter discourses and practices of a contested memorial culture in Germany, which was highly reflexive in the 1990s, has increasingly become a factor in tourism since the 2000s, and which is now being questioned particularly with regard to its postcolonial gaps. Questions in the context of the conference will be: Whose memory is manifested publicly? By what means? What is a “lieu de mémoire” in a neoliberal world? What should not be forgotten? And what role does iconoclasm play in this?

The conference is dedicated to the history of artistic counter-monuments and forms of protest, discusses aesthetics of memory and historical manifestations in public space, and asks about para-monuments for the present.

Conceived by Michaela Melián (Artist and Professor of Time-based media, HFBK Hamburg) and Nora Sternfeld (Professor of Art Education, HFBK Hamburg). Organized by Julia Stolba (PhD student, HFBK Hamburg).

The detailed conference program and the current COVID-19 regulations can be found on the website, here. The conference will be held in English. The event will be recorded and can then be viewed online here.

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