“Apologoscapes” of Objects, Bodies, and Memories: Materiality and Institutionality of Apology. Part I: Age of Apology: A dialogue in memory work.
Suzana MILEVSKA (Fellow) in conversation with Merete RØSTAD (artist and researcher)
In the framework of her cross-disciplinary research project Ethical and Aesthetical Protocols of Apology, Suzana Milevska invites several artists, theorists, and researchers in different disciplines and fields of study for a series of public talks and written conversations. Milevska and her guests will address pressing questions regarding systemic and institutional politics of apology, ethical protocols that form an indispensable precondition for any successful apology, and various artistic and aesthetical strategies that deal with apology in different contexts and forms.
Milevska’s project focuses on the potentialities and limitations of various socio-political and artistic protocols of apology in order to draw “apologoscapes” and “memoryscapes” of decolonization and counter-patriarchy. This particular phase of the project investigates various cultural and socio-political phenomena that put apology discourses in relation to the spatialization of objects, bodies, and memories. More precisely, it looks at theoretical and artistic research strategies and case studies that involve the discourse and materiality of apology while aiming to decolonize collective memory, reconciliation, and other forms of social, systemic, and institutional transformation.
Merete RØSTAD: Age of Apology: A dialogue in memory work
What does it mean to engage in ‘memory work’ in the present? In this talk, Merete Røstad will present some aspects of her artistic practice and research that serve as a mode of engagement to highlight blind spots of our shared histories by asking if we live in what could be defined as the ‘Age of Apology’. Røstad uses participatory processes, installation and sculpture as a means of working with the public, a way of activating collective memory and alternative modes of memorialization in public spaces. She engages and challenges events as societal trauma by confronting the legacies of past and present atrocities that have become recognized elements of democratic and post-conflict transitions in the public realm.
Suzana Milevska is a curator and theorist of art and visual culture, based in Skopje, North Macedonia. Her theoretical research projects employ postcolonial and feminist institutional critique of representational regimes of hegemonic power in arts and visual culture, and the deconstruction and decolonization of contentious cultural heritages in art institutions, collections, and public spaces. Her curatorial projects focus on collaborative and participatory art practices, feminist projects by women artists looking at visual microhistories in historic and family photographic archives, and community-based projects in solidarity with marginalized and disenfranchised communities.
In 2019, Milevska curated the exhibition Contentious Objects/Ashamed Subjects at the Polytechnic University Milan as Principal Investigator of TRACES – Transmitting of Contentious Cultural Heritages with the Arts – From Intervention to Co-production (EU Programme Horizon 2020, 2016-2019). From 2013 to 2015, she was Endowed Professor of Central and South Eastern European Art Histories, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Milevska was a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar (Library of Congress, Washington D.C.). She holds a PhD in Visual Cultures from Goldsmiths College London. In 2012, she won the ALICE Award for Political Curating, and the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory. Her research and curatorial project The Renaming Machine (2008-2011, Ljubljana, Skopje, Pristina, Zagreb, Vienna) addressed the politics and aesthetics of renaming, rewriting histories, and the overwriting of memory in art and public space in South and Eastern Europe. In 2010, Milevska initiated the project Call the Witness that focused on contemporary Roma artists and consisted of a participatory online Roma Media Archive, the exhibition Call the Witness, (BAK Utrecht), and the Roma Pavilion at 54 Venice Biennial (Palazzo Zorzi, Venice). In 2011, she also curated the project Roma Protocol, Wiener Festwochen, Austrian Parliament, Vienna.
Milevska’s publications include Gender Difference in the Balkans (VDM Verlag, 2010) and the readers The Renaming Machine: The Book (P.A.R.A.SI.T.E. Institute, 2010), On Productive Shame, Reconciliation, and Agency (SternbergPress, 2016), and Inside Out – Critical Discourses concerning Institutions (co-edited with Alenka Gregorič, 2016).
Merete RØSTAD (*1975, Narvik) is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and researcher whose practice is rooted in examining collective memory research, memory work and archives. Through research and process-based projects, Røstad examines the social and political meanings of sites. She explores how people consciously and unconsciously interact with stories written in the environment and how we read the traces that the stories leave behind. Her projects investigate the potential of how spatial and temporal constructions can serve as catalysts for a more profound commitment to history, identity and memory. Røstad has a doctorate in artistic research on the topic The Participatory Monument – Remembrance and Forgetting as Art Practice in Public Sphere (2018) at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO). Currently, Røstad is an Associate Professor in Art and Public Space (MFA) and is the Head of Research at the Department of Arts and Crafts at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO). In addition, Røstad leads two international interdisciplinary research projects: MEMORYWORK and ARcTic South. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in public spaces, festivals, galleries, and museums. Røstad lives and works in Oslo and Berlin.