Politics of Memory - reconstruction of a crime: xy-ungelost, container, Srebrenica

Building 500, Archaeology Center 488 Escondido Mall Seminar Room Stanford University
  • Milica Tomic

This lecture deals with the strategies of reconstructing the suppressed memory of traumatic events in Kosova, Afghanistan, and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of the 20th century. In this period of transitions and changes, history has become a key conflict arena in which identity and memory are being waged. Milica Tomic's work addresses these issues in an unconventional way that challenges traditional ‘representation’ (or lack of thereof) of the past events. By combining three of her exhibited projects xy-üngelost, container and Srebrenica – this talk attempts to investigate the ways in which we can engage with the past to confront the drives to forget. Thus re-constructed material and social network of events critically investigate the politics of rights to narrate traumatic events from the past. Proceeding from the fact that what we cannot remember tells us about that which we cannot forget, Milica Tomic interprets the syntagm “politics of memory” as a demand for a renewal of politics. Stated in the negative form, it goes: There is no memory without politics!/There is no oblivion without politics!

Milica Tomic works and lives in Belgrade as a visual artist, primarily video, film, photography, performance, action, light and sound installation, web projects, discussions etc. Tomic's work centers on issues of political violence, nationality and identity, with particular attention to the tensions between personal experience and media constructed images. Milica Tomic's has exhibited globally since 1998 and participated in numerous exhibitions including Venice Biennale in 2001 and 2003, Sao Paulo Biennale in1998, Istanbul Biennale in 2003 and Sidney Biennale in 2006, Prague Biennale in 2007, Gyumri Biennale in 2008. Tomic's work was exhibited in a wide international context including the Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem, Holland, Kunsthalle Wien, Austria, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, MUMOK- Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria, Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona, Spain, Ludwig Museum Budapest, Hungary, Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden, Palazzo Della Triennale Milano, Milan, Italy, Museum of Contamporary Art Belgrade, Serbia, GfZK- Galerie fur Zeitgenussische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany, State Museum of Contemporary Art Thessaloniki, Greece, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen, Denmark, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, USA, Freud Museum, London, UK, KIASMA Nykytaiteen Museo, Helsinki, Finland, Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arkitektur og Design, Oslo, Norway, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Holland etc.

A founder and member of the Monument Group, Tomic is a organizer of numerous international art projects and workshops, as well as lecturer at international institutions of contemporary art, such as: NIFCA (Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art), Kuvataideakatemia / Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, Finland, Piet Zwart Institut, Rotterdam, Holland, Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna, Austria and others.

Jointly sponsored by the Forum on Contemporary Europe, Archaeology Center, Department of Art and Art History, and Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.