‘Impossible Dialogues. Contested memories, conflicting presences’, on 26 May

The second edition of Impossible Dialogues will take place at Framer Framed in Amsterdam on Thursday 26 May, 20.00-22.00. The programme, co-organised by Margaret Tali, includes presentations by scholars and curators Tímea Junghaus (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Roma Sendyka (Jagiellonian University, Krakow) and Zuzana Štefková (Charles University, Prague) and will be followed by a public discussion.

In this discussion our speakers will focus on particular ‘impossible dialogues’ addressing the relationships between everyday life and art, and the complex meanings of time in the Eastern European context that shapes majority/minority relationships. Their talks articulate local mechanisms of maintaining fears towards Others, and negotiate possibilities to establish dialogue as a way to challenge enduring silences.

Timea Junghaus will present her research, that looks at how the situation of minority artists and cultural producers in Central Europe has declined significantly in the past decade with the evolution of nationalist cultural propaganda in the region. Roma tangible heritage is in danger, literarily rotting in public collections, where they are not exhibited and are inaccessible for the public. In this context Roma contemporary art itself is even seen as a measured and creative method of Roma resistance, a well-established form of cultural survival and a demonstration of ethical and political commitment to the future of the Roma community. For exposing the Roma struggle and for finding inspiring models for the Roma transformative subject being, initiating dialogues with other subaltern groups and transnational networks, and establishing contact zones with the majority societies are principal strategies of the Roma cultural movement. What is the possibility or impossibility of establishing new political tectonics through these connections, and through the exposure of the struggle is an eternal question…

Roma Sendyka will address the impossible dialogue between artists working in post-1989 Poland and the past Jewish minority of Poland, which perished in the Shoah. The recent research on the “unseen Holocaust” or “dispersed Holocaust” revealed a new dimension of the genocide – local, everyday, seen by many, unlike that of the closed life in the ghettos and camps. The artistic response to this is the effort to face “absence/presence” of those who died in the “Holocaust by bullets” or during the phase of the “Judenjagdt”. The buried, ghosts, dybbuks, walking deads, hybrid plants: contemporary art uses discourses of hauntology, post-humanities, ecocriticism and pop culture myths to wrestle with the paradoxes of “absent loss” and “present dead” moving from metaphors to forensic materiality. Art works by Andrzej Kramarz, Wojciech Wilczyk, Elżbieta Janicka, Łukasz Surowiec will be discussed.

Zuzana Štefková will deal with the reception of feminism in the Czech and Slovak art worlds during the 1990s and 2000s, where feminism is still dominantly perceived as a Western import and/or an aggressive ideology. Bringing examples of exhibitions and art works that reflect on gender themes and address the uneven position of men and women artists, she will discuss the related themes in art pedagogy. Her examples include the work of Tamara Moyzes, Michal Šiml, Michelle Adlerová, and Kača Olivova.

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