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SU hosts ‘Visible Memories’ interdisciplinary conference Oct. 2-4, presented by Visual Arts and Cultures Cluster of Central New York Humanities Corridor
SU hosts ‘Visible Memories’ interdisciplinary conference Oct. 2-4, presented by Visual Arts and Cultures Cluster of Central New York Humanities CorridorSeptember 08, 2008Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
Syracuse University will host an interdisciplinary conference, “Visible Memories,” on Oct.2-4. The conference will explore the intersections between visual culture and memory studies, with particular focus on the ways in which memories are manifested and experienced in visible, material or spatial form. It is presented by the Visual Arts and Cultures Cluster of the Central New York Humanities Corridor. The corridor and conference are made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
SU has been involved in the study of public memory and visual culture for the past seven years. The University previously hosted two major conferences devoted to the themes of “Framing Public Memory” (2001) and “Contesting Public Memories” (2005). Both events attracted national and international scholars from disciplines including anthropology, rhetorical studies, philosophy, writing, geography and art.
These conferences, in addition to other events and projects conducted by the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies (CRS) in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), have come to encompass SU’s Public Memory Project, focusing on how memories of the past impact our political and cultural lives in the present.
“SU’s Public Memory Project has become a hub for collaboration among scholars from over a dozen departments,” says Anne Demo, conference organizer and CRS professor. “We’ve hosted individual scholars while also supporting memory-related projects within the Syracuse community.”
As part of the “Visible Memories” conference, academics from across the globe were invited to submit papers focusing on local sites of memory; memorials and archives; environmentalism and representations of nature; regional, national or global tourism; photography or cinema; digital media; and art installations. More than 100 registrants, several plenary speakers and keynote speaker New York-based conceptual artist Ernesto Pujol will take part in conference activities.
“Visible Memories” features an innovative combination of events designed to facilitate conversation among a variety of researchers concerned with the study of visual culture and memory; academics and distinguished professionals in art and design, film production and institutional archiving; and the general public. In addition, conference keynote speaker Pujol will have an exhibition of his works on display at the Light Work gallery. The conference includes several free events open to the public.
FREE EVENTS OPEN TO PUBLIC
Thursday, Oct. 2Welcome reception, 6 p.m.Film screening and discussion with David Thorne, 7 p.m.Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison St., SyracusePaid parking available in open lots adjacent to the museum; on-street parking also available Films:
- “We will live to see these things, or, five pictures of what may come to pass” (Julia Meltzer and David Thorne, 2007); five-part documentary about competing visions of an uncertain future, filmed in Syria from 2005-06, offers perspective on a place where people live between competing forces of a repressive regime, a growing conservative Islamic movement and intense pressure from the United States;
- “It’s not my memory of it: three recollected documents” (Meltzer and Thorne, 2003); documentary about secrecy, memory and documents, includes a former CIA source recounting his disappearance; a CIA film recorded in 1974 but unacknowledged until 1992 documenting the sea burial of six Soviet sailors in a ceremony that collapses Cold War antagonisms; and a single photograph pertaining to a publicly acknowledged but top secret U.S. missile strike in Yemen in 2002.
Thorne lives and works in Los Angeles. From 1999-2003, his projects with Meltzer centered on state secrecy and production of the past. His current work focuses on the ways in which visions of the future are imagined, claimed and realized in relation to faith and global politics. His recent projects have been exhibited in the Whitney Biennial, the California Biennial and as part of London’s Hayward Gallery traveling exhibition program. His films have been screened at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, the New York Video Festival, the Margaret Mead Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, among others.
Friday, Oct. 3Welcome reception and “Walk # 1” exhibition by Ernesto Pujol, 5 p.m.Light Work, 316 Waverly Ave., SUPaid parking in SU pay lotsWelcome reception for keynote speaker Ernesto Pujol. An exhibition of his work, “Walk # 1,” will be on display in the gallery featuring black-and-white digital images following a robed figure (Pujol) walking through a Civil War cemetery in South Carolina. The artist conceived the series as a combination between a performance piece and installation. The exhibition is ongoing through Oct. 23. Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday through Friday, except for school holidays; appointments available. For more information, contact Light Work at (315) 443-1300 or visit http://www.lightwork.org.
“Embodying the Memories of Others,” keynote address by Pujol, 7 p.m. Watson Auditorium, 316 Waverly Ave., SU (accessible through Light Work)Paid parking in SU pay lots
Pujol’s lecture will address the formative role of memory as a theme in his art. During the 1990s, the artist became known for site-specific ephemeral installation projects addressing individual and collective memory and, more recently, for pressing ecological issues, war and mourning. He is currently working as a curatorial consultant for the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico. As an artist, Pujol is interested in the future of the American body on the land and within architecture, reclaiming public space as an environment for silence and meditation. For more information, visit http://www.ernestopujol.org.
ACADEMIC EVENTS OPEN TO PUBLIC
The academic portion of the conference will be held at the Renaissance Syracuse Hotel, 701 E. Genesee St., and consists of panels and plenary speakers on Friday, Oct. 3, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free parking is available at the hotel.
Scheduled plenary presentations include:
Friday, Oct. 3Plenary Panel 1Visual Politics and Historical Memory, 9 a.m.
- Cara Finnegan, associate professor, Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: “Speaking of Photography: Recognition and the Art of Imagining Visual Politics”
- Gregory Sholette, assistant professor of sculpture, Department of Art and Art History at Queens College: “History That Disturbs the Present: NYC, REPOhistory, and the Rise of Neoliberal Urban Amnesia”
Saturday, Oct. 4Plenary Panel 2Landscape and Memory, 9 a.m.
- Phaedra Pezzullo, assistant professor, Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University: “Resisting Environmental Disaster Fatigue Through Sustainable Memory Work: The Cultural Politics of Katrina Tourism in Post-8/29 New Orleans”
- Andrea Hammer, senior lecturer, Department of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University: “Memory Lines The Mapping of Central New York”
Plenary Panel 3The Visual Archive, 3:25 p.m.
- Patricia Zimmermann, professor, Department of Cinema and Photography at Ithaca College: “Migratory Archives”
- George Legrady, professor of interactive media, media arts and technology at the University of California-Santa Barbara: “Aesthetic and Cultural Perspectives through Data Visualization”
The conference will also feature 24 panel sessions on the following topics: Tourism and Memory; National Memory; Death, Mourning, Memory; Installations and Memory; Historical Absence, Erasure and Reconstruction; Mnemonic Enactment; Conflict Zones; Memory and Authenticity: From Relics to Home Movies; Natural Disaster and Memory; War Photography; Urban Memory; Memorial Forms; Memory and the Archive; Interventions of Public Amnesia; Digital Aesthetics and Mnemonic Interfaces; Racial Violence and Memory; Place and Memory; Memory from the Grassroots and Underground; Violence, Memory and Place; Memory and the State; War Memorials; Remembering Military Nature; Monuments, Materiality and Figuration; and Memory and the Representation of Trauma.
Sessions with plenary speakers are open to the public, but require an R.S.V.P. Members of the public should contact Demo at 443-1032 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register to attend academic panels. For complete information on the “Visible Memories” conference, visit http://publicmemories.syr.edu.
Created in 2006, the Central New York Humanities Corridor is supported by a three-year, $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded to SU to collaborate with Cornell University and The University of Rochester for the creation of a large-scale initiative to connect teaching and research in the humanities among these three leading institutions. Inspired in part by the mission of the science/technology Research Triangle in North Carolina, the Humanities Corridor works to enhance the profile and connectivity of the humanities in Central New York by drawing on the strengths of three Association of American Universities (AAU) member institutions. For more information, visit http://www-hl.syr.edu/mellon/index.htm.