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Art | Memory | Place Programme

Art | Memory | Place is a year-long programme of talks and events taking place over the course of 2015-16 in the context of the ‘decade of centenaries.’ Focusing on artists whose work addresses themes relating to memory and place, the purpose of this programme is to broaden and deepen the current discussion about the subject of remembrance and commemoration and to take account of such work.

Many artists are creating work that is concerned with memory and the past but does not necessarily take the form of a memorial or a commemorative gesture. Such work may arise out of the imperative of the artist rather than in response to an event or a public commission. Artists, critical writers and researchers are also articulating their ideas about the significance and meaning of such practice. The purpose of this programme is to broaden and deepen the current discussion about the subject of remembrance and commemoration to take account of such work.

The Art | Memory | Place programme was launched in October 2015 and the will run throughout 2016, focusing on the role of art and artists whose work addresses the subject of memory.">

Current Events

Institutions of Memory: Documentary, Time and the Archive
GradCAM & Dublin School of Creative Arts DIT
A series of seminars exploring the archival practices of institutions of memory – such as museums, exhibitions, commemorative projects and memorial sites – and the time-based relation between the articulation of such documentary representation and their audiences.

Beyond Looking
11 November 2016, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
RD006, Rathdown House, Dublin Institute of Technology, Grangegorman, Dublin 7

Witness and Re-membering
24 February 2017, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Studio 5, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8

Collections and Inclusivity
27 January 2017, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Palatine Room, National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7

The seminars are open to the public – the only requirement for attendance is to read through the suggested material in advance of seminars. Click here for further information and details of suggested reading material. 

Past Events

Wounded Cities
Professor Karen E. Till
Friday 11 November 2016
Professor Karen Till, Department of Cultural Geography, Maynooth University, discussed memory, national identity, systemic violence and the possibilities of spatial justice in the cites of Berlin, Cape Town, Bogotá and Minneapolis. Drawing upon the work of activists and artists, such as Joseph Beuys, Till argues that to acknowledge the historic ‘wounds’ of the city enables the process of memory-work that is needed to create healthy places, citizens and states. Critical of current-day narratives of resilience, Till's ethnographic research of field notes, interviews, archival texts, public art and maps advances a 'place-based ethics of care' that negotiate the contradictions and tensions of social trauma, memory-work and national identity existing in today’s modern cities.

Artists and Place: Susan Gogan and Beth O’Halloran
Artists Susan Gogan and Beth O’Halloran gave presentations about their work addressing the theme of ‘Artists and Place’.

The theme of the city of Berlin is a tentative thread that ran through these very different presentations reminding us of the need to hold in mind both the particularity and universality of our experiences of and relationships to place.

Art | Memory | Place: Artist Talk
Willie Doherty, Remains
Wed 28 Sept, 6.30-7.30pm, Lecture Room
The artist Willie Doherty discusses ongoing themes of memory and place in his acclaimed lens based practice and in particular his 2013 work Remains, currently on view as part of IMMA Collection: A Decade. Listen to this talk on IMMA's soundcloud channel.

Sue Rainsford responds to Niamh O’Malley’s Memorial Gardens
‘What can we ascertain of the human gaze and the shadow it casts? Or of memory, that diaphanous veil that shrouds even the most vibrant recollections?’

Writer Sue Rainsford reflects on Niamh O’Malley’s Memorial Gardens, 2008, featured in IMMA’s current exhibition IMMA Collection: A Decade.  Read her reflection piece here (PDF).

Niamh O'Malley, Memorial Gardens, 2008
Video projection, oil on etched-primed aluminium
Duration: 7min.22 sec. loop
Purchase | 2010

Made in 2008, while participating in IMMA’s Artist Residency Programme, Memorial Gardens by Niamh O’Malley is an installation comprising footage taken at the National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, Dublin, projected onto oil on etched-primed aluminium.

Sue Rainsford is an arts writer and researcher based in Dublin and Vermont.

Deranging Memory – Institutions and Proclamations
Friday 22 April 2016
Gerry Kearns (Professor, Human Geography, Maynooth University, Ireland) presents a lecture on his research on the cultural dynamics of memory in Ireland. He considers the place of objects, commodification, institutions and texts as resources for postcolonial memory. He discusses the Turner-prize-winning work of Duncan Campbell, (It for others, 2013), the reflections of Jonathan Swift upon madness, and the complexity of engaging with the Proclamation of 1916.

Gerry Kearns is a human geographer who works at the intersection of political, historical and medical themes. He is the author of Geopolitics and Empire (Oxford University Press 2009) and is a co-editor of Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis (Royal Irish Academy 2014). He is working on a project called The Geographical Turn in Irish Culture (Irish Research Council) and another about the place of the Proclamation in Irish Civil Society (Irish Research Council). He is professor of Human Geography at Maynooth University and a member of the Geographical and Geosciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy.  

Sinéad Hogan –  Aesthetics | Ressentiment | Non-place

1 April 2016, Project Space

Sinéad Hogan, Lecturer, IADT ARC MA, introduced the work of Jacques Derrida in relation to a politics of statements, trauma and impossibility. Taking as its prompt the theme of ‘remorse’ addressed in Hong-An Truong’s film The Measure of Remorse, 2009, the focus of the talk was on the radical impossibility of an apology. In doing so, this discussion explored some of the points of connection between Statecraft, a research project by IADT: ARC and IMMA’s Art | Memory | Place: Artists’ Films presented in the Project Spaces, 23 Feb – 5 April 2016. 

Artists Conversation | Maya Schweizer & Maeve Connolly
15 March 2016, Project Spaces

Maya Schweizer and Maeve Connolly in conversation in IMMA’s Project Spaces, 2016.

Maya Schweizer and Maeve Connolly (IADT, ARC) discussed the role of film as collective modes of remembrance and memorialisation in Schweizer’s film Der sterbende Soldat von Les Milles (The dying Soldier of Les Milles) 2014. 

Artist’s Talk | Hong-An Truong Tell Me Terrible Things They Have Known
10 March 2016, Lecture Room

Hong-An Truong in IMMA’s Project Spaces, 2016

Artist Hong-An Truong discussed a range of projects that draw on the life and work of writer Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking (1998), which brought international attention to the military atrocities committed by Japan against China during World War II. Exploring the limitations of language in relation to trauma, this talk explored Truong's ideas of memory and remorse as it relates to her recent work.

Watch Hong-An Truong discuss her film works A Measure of Remorse, 2009, and Tell Me Terrible Things They Have Known, 2016, presented in IMMA’s Project Spaces in 2016. 

Art | Memory | Place: Artists’ Films

Hong-An Truong, A Measure of Remorse, 2009, still.

Hong-An Truong: 23 February - 13 March 2016
Maya Schweizer: 15 March - 3 April 2016
Project Spaces
In different ways, the film works of Hong-An Truong and Maya Schweizer interrogate and disrupt the conventions of memorialisation and explore the complex relationship between trauma, remembrance and forgetting. Research for Tell Me Terrible Things They Have Known, by Hong-An Truong was undertaken as a participant on IMMA’s Residency Programme in 2015.

Featured Films include:

Hong-An Truong
A Measure of Remorse, 2009 and Tell Me Terrible Things They Have Known, 2016
23 February - 13 March 2016
A Measure of Remorse, 2009 and Tell Me Terrible Things They Have Known, 2016 by Hong-An Trong are part of a larger project drawing on the life and work of writer Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking (1998). This book brought international attention to the military atrocities committed by Japan against China during World War II. A Measure of Remorse re-imagines a confrontation between Chang, the Japanese ambassador to the U.S. at the time, Kunkhiko Saito, and the PBS journalist Elizabeth Farnsworth in which they argue about what constitutes a “real” apology. This video plays out an ambiguous encounter between the three characters, exploring the limitations of language in relation to trauma. Also presented as part of a loop presentation is Hong-An Truong’s most recent work, Tell Me Terrible Things They Have Known, 2016. Utilising Chang’s archives and footage shot at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall in Nanjing, this work is a meditation on the relationship of memory and history when fixed narratives begin to fall apart.

Maya Schweizer
15 March - 3 April 2016
Der sterbende Soldat von Les Milles (The dying Soldier of Les Milles), 2013
Maya Schweizer’s film, Der sterbende Soldat von Les Milles (The dying Soldier of Les Milles), 2013 offers a different perspective on the theme of memory. This work explores how the daily routine of the town of Les Milles is caught up by its past. A former brickyard in the town's centre was used as an internment camp for Germans during World War II and served as concentration and deportation camp later on. With the use of montage cutting techniques the artist explores the traces of the past in the present.

Gallery Discussion | Shot at Dawn, a psychoanalytic response
Dr. Ian Miller
18 February 2016

Dr Ian Miller and MA students from IADT’s ARC programme, gallery space, Chloe Dewe Mathews: Shot at Dawn, 2016

Dr. Ian S. Miller (clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst) responded to Chloe Dewe Mathews' exhibition Shot at Dawn focusing on the subject of trauma and the emergence of psychoanalytic techniques in response to early manifestations of trauma during World War One. In discussion with MA students from IADT’s ARC programme.

Art | Memory | Place: Postgraduate research seminar
13 November 2015

Maya Schweizer, Which Story Would You Prefer Not to Recall?, (detail), 2009 – 13

This event included a range of presentations by postgraduate researchers responding to the themes of art, memory and place. The purpose of this seminar was to provide a forum for researchers exploring these themes within academic settings so that they might have a broader reach and wider application. For example, Dr. Lisa Foran considered memorialisation in terms of the ‘Politics of the Future’ and what we decide to forget. Some researchers focused on particular sites of memory such as Steven Nestor who talks about the city of Cassino in Italy, destroyed during World War II, in terms of a ‘martyred’ city; while Martina Cleary considered the photograph as a site of mnemonic return. Several presentations focused on the work of particular artists whose work is concerned with memory such as Sue Rainsford’s study of the work of Scottish artist Susan Philipsz in terms of ‘Fragmentation and Embodiment;’ Joseph Murphy’s exploration of the work of Irish artist Willie Doherty and Kerry Guinan’s focus on the work of Polish artist Artur Zmijewski.

PANEL 1 |Theory
Chair: Dr. Sinéad Hogan, IADT
Dave Loder (University Ulster): Echoing the Past: A Proposal for a Counter-Monument.
Martin Grünfeld (UCD school of Philosophy): Ranciere and the Poetics of Remembrance.
Rónán MacDubhghaill (Sorbonne, Paris): Photography as traces of lieux de memoire.
Cécile Chevalier (University of Sussex): Memory, Relational Materialities and the Web place.

PANEL 2: Remembrance and Forgetting
Chair: Dr. Karen Till, Maynooth University
Dr Kieran Cashell (LIT): Haunted by the Past: Passages:Dani Karavan’s Memorial to Walter Benjamin at Portbou.
Dr Lisa Foran (Newcastle University): Deciding What to Forget: Memorialisation and The Politics of the Future.
Sue Rainsford (TCD/IADT):Fragmentation & Embodiment in the work of Susan Philipsz.
Kerry Guinan (NCAD): ‘What for..?’ Trauma and the Political in Artur Zmijewski’s 80064.

PANEL 3: Place
Chair: Dr. Gerry Kearns, Maynooth University
Steven  Nestor (IADT ARC): City, Martyred
Dr Penny Grennan (Northumbria University): Making the Eiffel Tower Mine – Materialising Memory.Kirstie North (UCC): Art Historical Memory in Contemporary British Art.
Dr Silvia Loeffler: Glás, Deep Mappings of Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
Joseph Murphy, (NCAD): Willie Doherty, Duncan Campbell: A generational study of contemporary Northern Irish Art.

PANEL 4: Archive/Media
Chair: Dr. Brian Fay, DIT
Mirjami Schuppert (Ulster University); Memory Play: The role of the curator in mediating artistic interventions into photographic archives.
Martina Cleary (EU Centre for Photographic Research, Newport): The photograph as a site of Mnemonic return, using the photograph to preserve, construct and trigger memory.
Kirstie North (UCC): Art Historical Memory in Contemporary British Art.

A full programme including abstracts of the research presented is available to download here (Adobe.pdf file).

To listen back to the research seminar click on the following links to each panel:
Panel 1: Theory
Panel 2: Remembrance and Forgetting
Panel 3: Place
Panel 4: Archive

Andreas Huyssen, Media of Memory in Contemporary Art
Keynote Lecture
12 November 2015

Andreas Huyssen, (Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, New York), discussed transnational art practices involving the history of European modernism and contemporary artists who deal with difficult pasts focusing on the work of Doris Salcedo, William Kentridge, and Nalini Malani.

You can listen back to his talk here.

Ann Rigney, Centenaries: what are they good for?
October 2015


Keynote lecture by Professor Ann Rigney (chair of Comparative Literature at the University of Utrecht) and Director of the Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies, opened the Art | Memory | Place programme on Saturday 24 October 2015 with the question: Centenaries: what are they good for? She challenged some of the assumptions about historical memory and the rituals and traditions constructed around commemorative practice. This contribution was particularly timely, in the context of the decade of centenaries.

Artists Shane Cullen, Cecily Brennan and Chloe Dewe Mathews provided responses to these themes drawing on their own practice and experience. Chloe Dewe Mathew’s exhibition Shot at Dawn was on show at IMMA from Oct 2015 to March 2016. This session will be chaired by Ailbhe Murphy, Director of Create.

You can listen back to these events on IMMA's Soundcloud:
Part I (Ann Rigney)
Part II (Artists' response)


Read curator Lisa Moran's blog on the Art | Memory | Place programme

Listen Back to:
past talks in this series by Ann Rigney, Andreas Huyssen and more on IMMA’s Soundcloud channel.

Irish Memory Studies Network
Frankfurt Memory Studies
University of Warick Memory Studies
Decade of Centenaries



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