Mar 24–26, 2006

Cultural Memory

An international symposium in co-operation with Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung

At opening weekend, there will be a 3-day conference. It is envisaged as an introductory forum for discussing and contemplating key aspects of the theme "Cultural Memory" in China.

All of China’s contemporary art productions inevitably touch on this theme, because all artistic work, whether it involves the production of pictures, music, opera, philosophy or writing, inevitably involves a debate with subliminally present traditions. The conference will investigate these invisible traces and discuss their relevance to society and art in contemporary China. A particularly important question presents itself in this context, namely, the use of historiography in China, by which memory is constructed. It is therefore relevant to ask: ‘Who is allowed to remember?’ and ‘What is one allowed or supposed to remember?’ These questions have played an important role for some time now, and not only since the Cultural Revolution and the emergence of a culture imposed by decree. Cultural Memory, understood as both a collective and an individual process, is subject to continual changes, even though it often seems to be composed of a stock of standard elements. Hence, there is a difference between the cultural memories of traditional and modern China. Similarly, the priorities and contours change from one generation to the next. In the light of these considerations, the conference will examine these changes and endeavour to find out how and where memory is located in different contexts.