Culture, Politics and History in Contemporary Latvia
lectures and discussion

27.4.2007, 19.30 | Depot, Breite Gasse 3, 1070 Vienna

Die Auseinandersetzung mit und um Geschichte, um ein vermeintlich „richtiges“ kollektives Gedächtnis stellt einen der zentralen und am heftigsten umkämpften Diskurse post-kommunistischer Gesellschaften in den vergangenen Jahren dar. Welche Rolle spielen in diesem Zusammenhang kritische künstlerische und kuratorische Praxen, wenn gerade das Museums- und Ausstellungsfeld oder auch der öffentliche Raum als Terrain visueller Manifestationen (neuer) hegemonialer Geschichtsschreibung genutzt werden? Im Vorfeld einer Exkursion nach Riga im Mai 2007 geht schnittpunkt dieser Thematik im spezifisch lettischen Kontext nach.

Berthold Molden
Polyphonic Perspectives on the Communist Past: Politics of History after 1989

The year 1989 constitutes a turning point for the ways in which societies deal with their collective pasts. The suddenly possible confrontation of Stalinist collaborators / bystanders and of repression victims triggered a wave of similar demands in other parts of the world. However universal that claim for historical clarification may seem, the debates about how to come to terms with the communist past in Eastern Europe proved to be highly diverse. It is necessary to approach these politics of history both within national public spheres, within segmentary group-specific arenas and in view of transnational contexts such as the recent European integration process. By identifying shared and differing frames of historical reference we can try to analyze the political impact of these historical debates.

Mara Traumane
Politics of Fieldwork? Artists' research, Media and History Exposure in

This lecture will address artistic practices that have introduced the issue of history writing into contemporary art and society in . It will feature both the role of documentary media, investigations into individual narratives, and research on the historical and social patterns of the particular site. What role in society do artists acquire through this work? What kinds of feedback loops are developing between location and artistic practice? Through research, observation, and sometimes intervention artists touch upon the contested grounds of collective memory and bring to attention un-consensual issues in national history and present.

Moderation: Luisa Ziaja, schnittpunkt, Vienna

Veranstaltung in englischer Sprache von schnittpunkt. ausstellungstheorie & praxis (

Berthold Molden is a contemporary historian at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for European History and Public Spheres in Vienna. His main research interests are history politics, the Cold War, transnational and global history with special emphasis on Latin America, Europe, and the USA, and the role of subcultures in societal crises. He was a researcher for the Austrian Historical Commission, Junior Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, and Visiting Researcher at the Association for the Advancement of Social Sciences, Guatemala.

Mara Traumane is researcher, art critic and curator working in Berlin and Riga. She is collaborating with creative projects ranging from recollections of 1980s samizdat novels and manifestos to the development of net-based script tools. Since 2000 she curated and co-curated several exhibitions, sound and new media projects. Currently she is engaged as editor of the anthology of the n avant-garde artists group “Workshop of Restoration of Unfelt Sensations (NSRD)”. Since 2005/06 she is PhD student at the Humboldt University Berlin, her research topic is “Notions of the art borders in experimental art movements in Riga and Moscow in 1980s and 1990s”. Her publications on art, new media and culture have appeared in magazines, catalogues and online publications.