Arts & Conflict: Contesting the unavailability of cultural heritage

In the present glob­al sit­u­a­tion of rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion of land­scapes and urban spaces due to last­ing or emer­gent polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and envi­ron­men­tal con­flicts, to encounter the unavail­abil­i­ty of mate­r­i­al and imma­te­r­i­al cul­tur­al her­itage and its chang­ing val­ues becomes a press­ing task. Tran­si­tions from a vio­lent past are medi­at­ed by arti­facts and cul­tur­al prac­tices that are anchored on civ­il soci­ety. Arts such as lit­er­a­ture, pho­tog­ra­phy, visu­al arts, per­for­mance, sculp­ture, cura­to­r­i­al prac­tices, archi­tec­ture or film, have con­test­ed these voids, mate­r­i­al traces and remains ever since by cre­at­ing dis­so­nant nar­ra­tives and alter­na­tive spaces. They have crit­i­cal­ly revis­it­ed the con­cepts of mate­r­i­al and imma­te­r­i­al cul­tur­al her­itage, framed main­ly by insti­tu­tion­al ini­tia­tives, to pro­tect it par­tic­u­lar­ly in regions that expe­ri­ence war, social upheavals or lack of resources for the preser­va­tion of mate­r­i­al and imma­te­r­i­al col­lec­tions, archives, mon­u­ments, and oth­er doc­u­ments. Arts have become crit­i­cal sources for civ­il imag­i­na­tions, as they address his­tor­i­cal obliv­ion, regen­er­a­tion and the unavail­abil­i­ty of cul­tur­al heritage.

The con­fer­ence aims to dis­cuss the idea and var­i­ous ini­tia­tives of mate­r­i­al and imma­te­r­i­al cul­tur­al her­itage and the role of the arts in under­stand­ing decol­o­niz­ing process­es in the glob­al his­to­ry, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Latin Amer­i­ca and the Mid­dle East, and in artic­u­lat­ing alter­na­tive seman­tics and spaces. It brings togeth­er artists, cura­tors, activists, aca­d­e­mics and intel­lec­tu­als with var­i­ous dis­ci­pli­nary back­grounds with the attempt to draw a bal­ance of the role of cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion in regions of transition.

Orga­nized by Prof. Dr. Lil­iana Gómez (UZH)


© Ala You­nis, The Ex-Sovi­et Archives project, 2008