On Thursday the 1st June 2017, Memorial hosted Marianne Hirsch for a discussion of different institutional approaches to memory and the ways in which these can shape our futures.
How is the memory of violent pasts transmitted to future generations? Traditionally, museums and memorials have presented official versions of history, serving the interests of particular nations or groups. In contrast, private institutions, like the family, practise what Marianne Hirsch has called “postmemory” – a form of transmission based on embodied exchanges, images, stories and behaviours that often counter hegemonic understandings of the past.
However, in recent years, new museums and memorials have started to also engage visitors experientially through an affiliative kind of postmemory. What space do these new museums give to countermemories and what other memorial practices might mobilise the past for a more open-ended future?
This talk raised all of these questions in a discussion which looked at the approaches taken in the 9/11 Museum in New York, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and a memory project contesting rape as a war crime in Kosovo.
Marianne Hirsch – William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality at Columbia University.
This evening also featured public statements by Ekaterina Suverina of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art/the Public History Laboratory and Alexandra Lozinskaya of Memorial International.
Memorial, 5 Karetny Ryad Street, Moscow