On 7 and 8 October 2022 Haus der Kunst, in collaboration with the City Department of Arts and Culture of the City of Munich and Freispiel Kulturagentur, will host a multi-day forum entitled Past Statements – Present Futures. The panels are convened by Cana Bilir-Meier & Saboura Naqshband, Romi Crawford and Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard as well as Emma Enderby, Damian Lentini and Andrea Lissoni (Haus der Kunst).
Accompanying program: 9 October
Recent debates in both Munich and throughout the world have been grappling with the question of whether the monuments in our cities are in fact truly representative of our contemporary ideals. Clearly, this is not always the case, as monuments from past times necessarily express past statements. What do we do with this discrepancy? And how can a diverse, democratic present address the past in a contemporary state of mind? Hence, the very act of collective remembering itself has gained relevance – as has the question of how contemporary ways of remembering can manifest themselves in new forms. With both a transnational perspective and focus on the city of Munich, the forum will seek to critically debate the very act of collective remembering itself. Engaging with a diverse range of artists, especially those focused on transdisciplinary artistic forms, as well as thinkers, philosophers, and activists whose research and practice is devoted to the historical dimension of the contemporary moment.
Behind every monument, there is a multitude of debates, diverging notions, and a diverse range of people who are directly and indirectly involved. More often than not, conventional statues and monuments deny this complexity in favour of simple, homogenous ideas of collective memory, and it is not uncommon for those whose very stories and histories are actually at stake not to be heard. With this in mind, each of the sessions and workshops will seek to significantly expand common understandings of a monument; incorporating hitherto-neglected elements such as acts of forgetting or suppression, notions of time, movement or flux, as well as monuments that exist purely in language or sound, or those that occupy digital and augmented spaces. In so doing, the forum seeks to foreground the notion of memory as something that is both active and that which is constantly up for debate. Memory is part of the public sphere.
Furthermore, each of the invited conveyors and panelists exemplify just how deeply embedded this sort of thinking is to both Haus der Kunst and the Department of Arts and Culture of the City of Munich. Featuring artists and thinkers who have recently featured within their respective programmes – or with whom we hope to work in the future – the forum allows both organisations to act as hosts in the truest sense of the word: facilitating a space in which the public and key practitioners are able to meet debate and exchange ideas. In creating such a place of encounter, and by focusing on both present and future modes of memory, Past Statements – Present Futures hopes to draw upon and uncover postcolonial, migratory, vagrant and displaced narratives which further define and enrich collective acts of remembering within public sphere.
The event is part of the program past statements by Public Art München and of Institute of City History and Cultures of Remembrance at the Munich City Department of Arts and Culture, featuring interventions in public space and local debates.