memory. culture. art.
Belgrade Roundtable Discussion
The Roundtable Discussion at the Goethe Institute in Belgrade on November 7, 2008 was a follow-up to the interdisciplinary Conference and Workshop “Memory, Culture and Art: Remembrance and Dealing with the past after 1989”.
The roundtable discussion “Do we need art for remembrance?” aimed to further examine the national and transnational cultural memory in post-war former Yugoslavia by focusing primarily on the role of art. The members of the panel were artists and experts from Serbia, Bosnia, Kosova and Macedonia. The main premise of the discussion was the idea that art and artists convey important social and political messages by challenging, subverting and reinforcing particular ideologies. The central question guiding the discussion was how artists are dealing with the culture of memory through their creative expressions. While the participants showed different approaches to the subject of (dealing with) memory and remembrance, art was seen as a language that allows possibilities for new dimensions to open up and as always engaged with politics or contextualized in a political framework.

The discussion was structured along several conceptual axes:
1. Art and Politics of Identity (e.g. The importance of gender, class, ethnicity and age in producing, disseminating and consuming art)
2. Art and State Ideology (e.g. Structuring public space by erecting particular monuments; Appropriating the memory of the past by launching only one “truth”; Im/possibilities to resist and contest the official political versions of “what really happened”)
3. Art and Emotions/Feelings (e.g. Conveying different experiences of trauma, exile, homelessness, flight and displacement; In/ability to initiate effective resistance or change; Experiences of loss, fear and hope/lessness)
4. Art and the Market (e.g. External forces affecting the artistic creation; Funding agencies and their expectations regarding particular topics such as “spectacles of suffering” and notions of healing and recovery)

Participants of the Belgrade Workshop:
Rozita Dimova (moderator): Anthropologist (Berlin, Skopje)
Albert Heta: Artist (Prishtina)
Borka Pavićević: Centre for Cultural Decontamination (Belgrade)
Branimir Stojanović: Philosopher, Psychoanalyst (Belgrade)
Milica Tomić: Artist (Belgrade)
Šejla Kamerić: Artist (Sarajevo, Berlin, London)