Presentation at the Winter Symposium of Nordic Summer University (NSU) in Riga


The Nordic Summer University (NSU) study group Appearances of the Political announces a CFP for its winter symposium. The first session of the group will be organized in cooperation with Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art and Faculty of Theology, the Latvian University in Riga, Latvia.

The topic, Identifying the Political, will address the verbal play and its connection to physical presences of today’s political reality and approach it from the point of view of social, artistic, aesthetic and cultural analysis.

By focusing on the conceptual base of the appearances of the political we wish to articulate clearly the artistic, aesthetic and cultural forces underlying today’s political thinking. We also want to inaugurate a debate on the role of cultural approaches in political analysis. To really discuss the political we need to establish a deeper understanding of the key concepts and their cultural extensions before elaborating on other forms of investigating them.
This could, for example, be related to the impact of concepts like migration / refugee. What cultural significance do these (or any similar politically explosive) concepts anchor to?

Ann Mirjam Vaikla’s presentation Endeavour of Remembrance. Investigation of the phenomenon memorial focuses on the phenomenon memorial as one of the most out standing physical bodies and often collisions of political and artistic.

What is a memorial? Why should we make memorials? Memorial in its’ complexity consists of different aspects. It has the appearance of all the time tenses: it is built to remember what happened in the past but to create a dialogue in the present and to point towards the future. It is impossible to create politically neutral memorial – it mirrors the face of the ruling government. Memorial is always built for someone. The dialogue between the memorial and its’ audience is even more intense than in the theatre or gallery space.

My investigations are mainly based on the two workshops held by Norwegian Theatre Academy / Østfold University College with the scenography students at the Håøya island in the Oslo fjord. First time in April 2014 I participated as a scenography student myself and second time in October 2015 as an associate workshop arranger. All from different nationalities (from Norway, Estonia, Germany. Bulgaria, France, Mexico, Lithuania, Denmark, Zambia, Sweden etc) we were dealing with the three unknown, forgotten and tragic stories of the people who lost their lives and with the question how to commemorate them via with our scenographic interventions.

I am curious to introduce the projects that were realised during the two times of the workshop on the island in an attempt to create a memorials that would be accessible for the audience and perceived with their one or many senses (sight, smell, taste, sound, touch). What are the possibilities of a memorial being a physical act instead of block of marble? My observations of appearing memorials include sudden reactions such as during the recent terrorist attack in Paris. All kind of buildings around the world were coloured in the French flag a day after. Seeing the Estonian TV tower from my bedroom in blue-white-red tricolour made a change in my daily thoughts in a rythym of commemorating.

More information: http://nordic.university/study-circles/2-appearances-of-the-political/

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