Memorials, commemorations, and remembrance about dark histories are riddled with politics in a social present. The visual becomes a critical field in organising memories of turmoil, in and through rituals of remembrance that surround physical objects like monuments, museums, shrines and cenotaphs.
Dreadful times produce special stories. Even when remembrance of a dark past is a burden too heavy, stories told in different narrative and visual modes enable groups to recall some of the details of dread while simultaneously burying other aspects of their dark histories. Monuments, museums, shrines, cenotaphs and rituals around them become set apart and sacred objects because they represent a place to recall the past and in the telling and re-telling of what they are about, they enable different memories and forms of remembrance. The panel will focus on contemporary political turmoil and the politics of remembrance. Precisely because conflicts are thought of in the present continuous, the 'past' is a fluid terrain; but it is exactly this 'fluid' character of a not-quite-past event that generates different modes and sites of remembrance and commemoration, ranging from the seemingly 'temporary' and impermanent roadside shrines to more enduring modes of the museum. Events, people, and political identities may be remembered through a series of different memorials, spread across space. Each may present the facade of completeness but in fact be a fragment, a shard that emerges as connected or contested within different modes and politics of remembrance. The intent of the panel is to explore the 'claims' to tell stories about events, mourn people or assert identity through representing the past in the present.