Call for papers: Bilderfahrzeuge Conference “Mobile Memories” 2022
Annual conference of the research group
Bilderfahrzeuge. Aby Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of Iconology
Berlin, 10.-11. November 2022
Deadline for proposals is the 30 June 2022.
This text is also available as a PDF here.
Memories travel between locations, cultures, generations, groups, and migrate with people and objects. The processes of transmission or displacement of memories also mean their transformation according to social, political, personal or other dynamics. At the same time, memories are often addressed as ‘tradition’, as relatively stable points of reference in the self-definitions or identity constructions of groups or societies (bound to particular places and sites). Collective memory, which includes memory practices or agents, such as archives, museums and rituals, may be confronted with memory as the individual faculty to process, store and retrieve information.
This year’s conference of the research group »Bilderfahrzeuge. Aby Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of Iconology« entitled Mobile Memories and taking place in Berlin 10.-11. November 2022, will investigate objects and carriers, matter and media of memories in a transcultural perspective. Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas and his image-based concept of memory is an obvious point of reference, but also of critical concern. The reflection on Warburg’s Mnemosyne project leads on to other fields of enquiry, such as media and data transmission technologies. The latter are an essential factor for the mobility and travel of memories, while technologies are partly also driven by the need or the politics of transmission of memories. The conference seeks to discuss this in historical case studies as well as in relation to contemporary practices and methodologies in digital mediascapes.
Under these premises, the interplay of memory, motion, aesthetics and transcultural dynamics is an important field for the investigation of concepts such as ‘heritage’ and ‘provenance’ or of constellations of translocated artifacts and global memory spaces. We conceive this as an invitation to art history and related disciplines to newly engage in and contribute to memory studies, with a focus on pictorial and artistic discourses.
1. Memory: Warburg and beyond
Aby Warburg’s notion of social memory regarded artworks and images as repositories or agents of historical dynamics. Traces of earlier image practices can ‘survive’ in others of later times, concerned with the movement of bodies, gestures and expressions. The aim of this section is not merely to discuss the migration of iconic formulas across time and space, but rather asking for the role of emotions and their expression in constructing memories by or for people and societies. How do commemorative practices serve for informing the cultural memory of people and communities? What role does memory and its media play in the transhistorical and transcultural shaping and transformation of collective identities?
2. Carriers of Memory
This section focuses on transcultural dynamics and interplays between memory and migration of images and objects, as well as on their reciprocal negotiations. Here ‘carrier’ is understood in broad terms and as such encompasses artifacts, artworks, collections, archival material, but also people, communities and traditions. Through specific case studies, it explores the heuristic potential of alternative and/or indigenous theories and practices relevant for a dialogue across disciplines and redefinition of multiple (mobile) forms of memory. In which ways do memory and its carriers act (as flow/containment or ephemeral/lasting) and give each other form?
3. (Re)mediation processes
This section focuses on diverse processes and practices between matter and media through which memory is constituted, mediated and transformed. It is interested in how media facilitate and mediate the transcultural travel of memories, and how the memories in turn changed the way the past is transmitted in that process. What is the interplay (connection, reflection and tension) between digital and nondigital media, how do online and offline memoriescorrespond and reflect on each other and, by their different materialities, have they shaped a new mnemonic reality?
4. Rupture and Interaction
This section is focused on interventions and alternative forms of producing, revising, and ordering of forms and objects of memory and knowledge. We would like to invite contributions exploring archives, art works, political and digital activism, collections and exhibitions which produce counter archives in their own ways of representation and communication. We would like to open up the discussion towards non-western practices of memorialization, representation and communication. In this section memory, history and heritage are confronted and situated within art and its institutions. Through which interventions (e.g., hacking or establishing counter archives) are existing settings, archives, collections and narratives being challenged?
The proposals (to be submitted in English) should be assigned to a particular section and should include a title and a short abstract (max. 300 words) of a 30-minute presentation. Additionally, please include a short biography (max. 200 words) and your contact details and affiliation (where applicable). Costs for travel and accommodation for invited speakers will be covered in accordance with the German Federal Travel Expenses Act (Bundesreisekostengesetz).
Please send your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30th June 2022.
This conference is organized by the members of the sub group Global Bilderfahrzeuge/Mobile Memory, Dipanwita Donde (New Delhi), Anita Hosseini (London), Sanja Savkic Sebek (Berlin), Gerhard Wolf (Florence) and Ning Yao (Berlin).