MemScreen – An Art-Based Archive of Translation and Narration

project number: AR 96 Programm zur Entwicklung und Erschließung der Künste (PEEK)
project lead: Friedemann DERSCHMIDT
decision board: 2010/11/29

Abstract: MemScreen – An Art-Based Archive of Translation and Narration

MemScreen find new artistic methods to represent narrations and memories that are associated with the complex historical connections between Israel and Austria, Austria and the holocaust. MemScreen is creating and researching artistic methods to facilitate the translation of artworks from the Israeli context to the
Austrian/European one and vice versa. One of our aims is to contribute possible ways of dealing with the question of contextualization that marks a fundamental curatorial problem and is acute in the contemporary debate of new (artistic) curatorship.
Connected with this approach, the other aim is to create a Holocaust-connected documentary that would use experimental strategies to represent the “problem of representation.” The way the audience understands our art suggestions in  Israel and Austria will also be researched and well though through. MemScreen is a transnational project and will take place in our partner art institutions in Austria (Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna) and Israel (Digital Art Center Holon, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, etc.). MemScreen continues our earlier, long-standing and broad scholarly and artistic work on the connection between individual and collective memories (see above film projects and installations of ritesinstitute and artworks of Tal Adler) and the axis Israel-Austria (see above the Tal Adler & ritesinstitute projects). The core team consists of the artists and artist researchers Tal Adler, Attila Kosa, ritesinstitute (Friedemann Derschmidt & Karin Schneider) and the Israeli writer Ilana Schmueli, born in Cherniviz.
One pillar of the poroject is the organisation of intense workshops and public lectures at the partner institutions with the board members. This approach will render our process more precise and establish an interdisciplinary discursive and productive field for art-based research about memory, narration and translation in Austria and Israel.
MemScreen defines itself as an archival project. Archive in this sense is not only understood as a fixed data bank but also as a dynamic digital working platform. The digital archive in this context is a tool to initiate effective learning processes for the MemScreen participants (the artist researcher team, partners, board and artists-in- residence) and multiple publics. In the MemScreen archive the narrations, memories, researched artworks, workshop discussions, objects and images are subject to be rearranged and connected with new research questions. These questions develop within our practical experiences.

Abstract of the final report:

MemScreen was constructed to find new artistic methods to represent narrations and memories that are associated with the complex historical connections between Israel and Austria. Based on an open call we invited researc hers from the art field that deal with the question of how history is constructed, how blind spots are produced and how these questions could be translated from the Israeli context to the Austrian one and vice versa. We organized tours for the Israeli resi
dency guests (to the memorial Mauthausen, the Documentation Archive of Austrian Resistance, Memorials in the open space, etc.) to create a deeper understanding of the way this place is loaden with history and of how blind spots are produced. Parallel we or ganized lectures mainly at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and included some short listed artists in our conference “Doing Memory”, in June 2013. This basic research on contextualization and translation circled around the art based
research by Friedemann Derschmidt, Tal Adler, Karin Schneider, Ilana Shmueli and Attila Kosa. Friedemann Derschmidt developed together with Ilana Shmueli (story teller), Karin Schneider (interviews and film script) and Attila Kosa (data management) new artistic methods of how the memory of a holocaust survivor can be told and understood. Hence his project contributed to the debate of oral history and the question what it means that a vague memory gets a shape in the process of story
telling. Friedemann and his team were able to show the artistic approach in this process (see his awarded film: the “Phantom of Memory”). Tal Adler (in research collaboration with Karin Schneider) developed new photographic methods of exploring the blind spots in the way history is represented in t
he Austrian landscape. Using a bubble level in the foreground of the photograph he created a symbol for the construction of history, memory and landscape. Karin Schneider provided an open archive to display research material behind these projects and images. In that perspective we developed a certain curatorial method of working with the productive tensions between texts and images; we could show how images can function as “condensed” research and trigger the visitors desire for understanding.

see the final review by the FWF reviewers here

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