“What is Monumental Today?” (Oct 10-11, 2014)

September 13th, 20147:23 pm @

The politics of memory at the moment of danger

Chto Delat, EARN (European Artistic Research Network), Finnish Academy of Fine Arts/University of the Arts Helsinki
Organized by Dmitry Vilensky, Jan Kaila and Henk Slager
October 10–11, 2014

Smolny Institute
ул. Смольного, 1
St. Petersburg
Russia, 191124

How can the groups that are excluded from the public sphere voice material and performative forms of commemoration nowadays? What kind of tangible structures and rituals could be developed to counter the imposed monumentality of power?

Without the politics of commemoration any political struggle is impossible. Only through rituals located around certain spaces and through the symbolic representation of past struggles can the next generation empower itself in a dialogue with the dead and get inspiration and lessons for the future. But how can we proceed with this urgent matter if the people’s movements have very limited opportunities to produce and structure space, and their spatial practices are limited to temporal structures relocated around the city maps? And at the same time the celebration of tacticality/temporality very much limits the popular desire for change.

Those in power retain a rigid monumentality that celebrates their force and a pseudo-unity of the people. What could be an answer? What is monumental today?

In a two-day meeting of international artists and intellectuals, these issues will be discussed from the different perspectives that lie at the basis of our dangerous situations.


Friday, October 10

19h: Floating Ghost #2, curated by Jussi Koitela
Video works: Wywrotka (Capsizing) by Tero Nauha, Virtual War by Pekka Niskanen and Rigmaroles by Anna Johansson. The program investigates the neoliberal condition of freedom and the current challenges of living conditions and the development of geo-political and immaterial communication in Northern and Eastern Europe. Thus it articulates alternative modes of monumentality from the perspective of current practices of exclusion. Screening followed by discussion with curator and artists.
Moderator: Henk Slager

Saturday, October 11

Session 1
10–11h: Ilya Orlov: Excursion, Memorial “Victims of the Revolution” at the Marsovo Polje (The Field of Mars Square)
11–12.30h: Lunch and gathering at Smolny College

Session 2
Moderator: Johan Öberg
13–13.15h: Dmitry Vilensky, introduction
13.15–14h: Barbara Vanderlinden, “Monumental Manifesta”
14–14.45h: Artyon Magum, “The role of historical memory in current Russian politics”
14.45–15.15h: Break

Session 3
Moderator: Jan Kaila
15.15–16h: Janos Sugar, “Power is invisible until you provoke it”
16–16.45h: Oxana Timofeeva, “The Theater for the Dead”
16.45–17h: Break

17–18:30h: The Ghosts of the Monument
Video works: Lapidari (Viktor Gjika, Esat Ibro), Scene for New Heritage Part I (David Maljkovic), A farewell to the monument (Kaya Behkala, Egypt), Partisan Songspiel, (Chto Delat), Lost Monument (Stefanos Tsivopoulos). This program is questioning the presence of monuments in the life of our communities.

Final session (after short break)
18.30–20h: Nora Sternfeld, Dmitry Vilensky, discussion
Q&A with all participants

This project is the next step in the ongoing Chto Delat project. It takes position in the debate on the politics of memory and monumentality. The reader for the conference can be downloaded here.

The symposium “What is Monumental Today?” is co-organized by the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts/University of the Arts Helsinki in collaboration with Chto Delat, Smolny Institute and EARN (European Artistic Research Network).

More information: www.artresearch.eu or henri.wegelius(at)uniarts.fi.
www.artresearch.eu www.kuva.fi chtodelat.org