|Saturday March 28, 2015||University of Exeter > De-Placing Future Memory > Project|
De-Placing Future Memory and the theoretical background
The project seeks to comprehend the permeability of the bond between memory and place, and the sense of attachment that arises from it. It is interested in the role or agency of the physical world, and the extent to which lessons from the exploration of materiality, in accessing the underside of history, can expose the impact of subliminal pasts, beyond what may be articulated through text. The future memory embodied in an object, monument or place, anticipates a specific audience or participant response, and gains power from that expectation. For example, the strength of the experience which a war monument can elicit, is drawn from both: an anticipated shared understanding of memories of war from the past; and the sense that the monument will effect a similar reaction from later viewers, hence projecting memory into the future. The power of an art work is in part derived from the same expectation, which allows its embodiment of the multi-sensory experience to shift our perception of that same world on which it draws for inspiration. A central component of this workshop is the collaboration of visual artists, who will share the methods of their artistic practice by conducting artist-led journeys, and creating work for an exhibition.
To investigate the themes outlined above the workshops will bring together the knowledge and experience of colleagues who approach the subjects of memory, journey, past, place, perception and materiality, from diverse perspectives. Over the last two decades key studies in the fields of archaeology and anthropology (e.g. Ingold 1993; Gosden 2005; Knappett 2005) have profoundly shifted how we understand materiality, drawing in part on the methods of art practice. Material agency has also been central to developments in Geography, where one of the strands has led to a reconsideration of the meaning of place and space as relationally constructed (Massey 2004; 2005). To gain a more profound understanding of ‘being in the world’ these disciplines have also turned to the performing arts, and the exploration of presence (Giannachi et al. 2005-09; Kaye 2000; Pearson, Shanks 2001; Wylie 2005).
Alongside these theoretical approaches, ancient and modern case studies have emphasised the role of memory ownership negotiations in identity construction. Alcock (2002), for instance, traces patterns of commemoration and forgetfulness by drawing on the ancient Greek landscape and its monuments. While studies of contemporary regions of conflict highlight the impact of the memory-place bonds, and the reconceptualisation of homeland in light of acute displacement (Al-Ali, Koser 2002; Dumper 2001, Pappe 2003).
Through an innovative fusion of these thus far distinctive research contexts the project will address the following questions:
Lessons learned from this dialogue will be accessible to wider audiences, through the medium of art, text, and practice, so as to generate an interactive reflection on what makes the here and the now, and the limits on the power of the verbal and textual.
(Elena Isayev, 2008)
The University of Exeter, The Queen's Drive, Exeter, Devon, UK EX4 4QJ