Queerness of Memory: Presenting the Videos “After the Transformation” and “Transferred Memories”
The artistic research project The Queerness of Memory intervenes in contemporary politics of memory. As both a theoretical concept and a tool for artistic exploration, the project follows the assumption that memory is shaped by queerness and that remembering is mostly a strange, ungraspable and actively constructed process, intertwined with sociopolitical, historical and economic conditions. The queerness of memory emphasizes the role of desire for politics of remembrance and challenges to think if there might also be pleasures to be found between remembering and neglecting, between knowing and not knowing, instead of traumatic loss and pain. With such an emphasis on desire the queerness of memory becomes a concept about the hovering between activity and passivity, it is engaged in a process of remembering which is situated in an uncontrollable but not determined area. The queerness of memory is more about the creation of an unsettledness then about activist programs, which suggests the employment of remembering for political purposes. Speaking of a queerness of memory is based on memory’s ungraspable appearances, on the very impossibility to root, essentialize or naturalize memory’s meaning, both for a subject and social historical formations. For the presentation the concept will be introduced through two video works. After the Transformation actively uses the concept of the queerness of memory in order to rework the notion of Eastern European transformation. The video is situated in the voice training of a queer person posing questions around a desire for a time after the embodied social and political change. Transferred Memories, Embodied Documents works with memory in order to create a queer relation between two performers who deal with images of atrocities of the Bosnian War together. They both describe their view of these images and listen to each other’s descriptions of their reactions, thereby gaining recognition for their affective responses in front of the images. However they do not depend either on an identification with the bodies shown in the footage nor on an identification with each other. Instead they create a queer temporality in which respeaking and restaging of visual material becomes central.