"Memorials today – between a collective history of loss and new artistic strategies"

Something interesting for all of those involved in the Politics of Memory project.

"Memorials today – between a collective history of loss and new artistic strategies"
23 January 2015

Registration deadline: 5 January 2015

Kosmopol Konference Center
Fiolstræde 44
1171 Copenhagen K

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Memorials – an evolving genre
The memorial is a classic genre within art in public spaces; one that bears testament to important events and persons from history. The genre is currently seeing a renewed interest in the erection of new and groundbreaking monuments that reflect current social, artistic, and societal tendencies. Several scholars within the field even speak of a monument boom or a monument mania, a fact that testifies to a colossal need for processing individual as well as collective grief. This development has prompted a new way of relating to memorials—one that challenges the traditions within the genre. New artistic modes of expression and new strategies are employed, thereby reinvigorating and reinventing the memorial genre and giving it a prominent place on the artistic agenda in Denmark and abroad. Today, memorials are not just landmarks that help us navigate our historical past; they also lay down new aesthetic tracks that interact with the overall contemporary art scene and point ahead in time.

With the seminar "Memorials today – between a collective history of loss and new artistic strategies," KØS focuses on the question of how a classic genre within the public space can be reinvigorated and imbued with new relevance in an ongoing interplay with the culture that surrounds it. How do we use memorials today, and what values do we attribute to them?

Focusing on some of the most important new memorials in the world, this seminar takes its point of departure in two main movements within memorial culture today: loss and trauma, and new representations. Much-discussed and even controversial memorials such as the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero in New York, designed by the architect Michael Arad; The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, created by the architect Peter Eisenman; and the Monument to Denmark's international effort after 1948 by the artist Finn Reinbothe are all examples of memorials that have been raised to loss and trauma within the last ten years. On the other hand, the concept of new representations covers spontaneous, temporary memorials and monuments to groups and minorities that have traditionally been overlooked within the genre.

Target group
The seminar is aimed at all who have a particular interest in memorial culture and to professionals within the arts and social sciences. It is relevant to all who work with art and architecture in public spaces. The seminar takes its point of departure in the extensive research project Power Monuments People – Memorials today, which focuses on the latest and most important movements within the memorial genre. Part of the project consists of the international exhibition bearing the same name currently on display at KØS Museum of art in public spaces until 22 February 2015.

Moderated by Martin Krasnik.


Registration and coffee

Welcome/Christine Buhl Andersen, director of KØS Museum of art in public spaces.

Module 1: "Loss and Trauma"

Focus: The Monument to Denmark's international effort after 1948 at the Citadel in Copenhagen

Lene Bøgh Rønberg, PhD and curator at KØS Museum of art in public spaces.
Regarding the curatorial choice of the Monument to Denmark's international effort after 1948 for the exhibition Power Monuments People – Memorials today at KØS Museum of art in public spaces.

Film screening: A short film featuring reflections on the creation of the Monument to Denmark's international effort after 1948. Participants include the artist Finn Reinbothe and former Chief of Defense Jesper Helsø.

Mattias Ekman, PhD in architectural theory and memory studies.
On the importance of memorials to collective memory, based on Ekman's article "Remember! The spatial orchestration of memory in the Monument to Denmark's international effort after 1948."

Question time

Brief break

Focus: 9/11 Memorial, Ground Zero, New York

Michael Arad, architect and partner with Handel Architects—the architect behind the 9/11 Memorial, Ground Zero, New York.
On the aesthetic, human, and local policy considerations and reflections associated with the creation of the 9/11 Memorial.

Questions and discussion


Module 2: "New Modes of Representation"

Focus: Memorials today – an evolving genre

Mette Haakonsen, MA (art history) and co-curator of the exhibition Power Monuments People – Memorials today.
On the status of memorials today and where the genre is heading.

James E. Young, Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
On a new generation of memorial artists, based on Young's article "The Memorial's Arc: Between Berlin's Denkmal and New York City's 9/11 Memorial."

Questions and discussion


Focus: From the classical monument to new chosen ones

Inge Adriansen, PhD in Nordic folklore and cultural history, curator at The Museum of Southern Jutland/Museum Sønderjylland – Sønderborg Slot.
On the classic Danish monument and on what has—and has not—been found worthy of remembrance.

Michael Hviid Jacobsen, Professor of Sociology at Aalborg University and program director of the Master of Humanistic Palliative Care.
On new ways of remembering, based on the emergence of new, temporary and spontaneous memorials.

Lene Bøgh Rønberg, PhD (art history) and curator at KØS Museum of art in public spaces.
On the new groups and minorities now commemorated by memorials after having traditionally been overlooked by the memorial genre.

Summarizing questions and discussion.

Reception; wine and snacks will be served.

Send an email to info@koes.dk with your full name, organization, job title and email. Direct banking information will be provided, where the names of participants should be used as a reference. The fee is DKK 350, and confirmation is only registered after payment.

The registration deadline is 5 January 2015.

Arranged by: KØS Museum of art in public spaces


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