W110
Enacting pasts and futures: memory, identity and imagination

Convenors:
Michalis Kontopodis (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
Vincenzo Matera (University of Bologna)
Discussant:
Joel Candau, Alex Kozin, Elizabeth Tonkin
Location:
13
Start time:
27 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
6

Short abstract:

Memory and identity are tied by strong mutual relations. Furthermore, it is quite impossible to examine memory and identity without referring to imagination. Remembering goes always together with forgetting and memories are always already connected with images of the future.

Long abstract:

Memory and identity are tied by strong mutual relations. If we agree that memory is the capacity to preserve traces of past experience that can be accessed through recall, and that identity is the sense of continuity of self through time, we can grasp one meaningful memory-identity relation in <i>protomemory</i>, i.e. everything which is memorized (embodied): habitus, procedural or implicit memory, body techniques, etc., and another in <i>metamemory</i>, that is the representation that each individual has of his own memory and, on the other hand, what he narrates about it as well as what he feels, since emotions play a crucial role not just in building the memory-identity relation but also with regard to the products of imagination. Indeed, it is quite impossible to examine memory and identity without referring to imagination, both for theoretical (i) and empirical (ii) reasons: (i) there are multiple ways of performing pasts, presents and futures by way of interrelating them. In this sense, remembering goes always together with forgetting and memories are always already connected with (collective) visions of the future; (ii) in contemporary societies, where complex phenomena are mediated by communication technologies, global geopolitical transformations and the fall of ideological references, identity-making would necessarily involve both memory and imagination. Our workshop aims at investigating these issues; the key themes include but are not limited to: semiotic-material aspects of the creation/destruction of cultural artefacts and collective identity, time and memory in visual arts and mass media, everyday remembering/forgetting, memory and uncertainty in institutional praxis, memory and the emergence of novelty), sensorial memory, nostalgia, genealogy, and cultural heritage (monuments, memorials, museums). The Workshop consists of three interrelated sessions, which will conclude in a general discussion. We strongly therefore recommend to all participants to participate in all sessions.

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