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Symposium: Performing Cultural Trauma in Theatre and Film, Brussels [9.5.2008]

Performing Cultural Trauma in Theatre and Film :History and Memory between Representation and Experience
Friday May 9, 2008 at the Paleis der Academiën, Brussels

Friday 9.05

09.00 am - registration and coffee

09.30 am - opening of the conference by the organisers

09.45 am - first session

Gerald Siegmund, "Unclaimed and Unclaimable: Memories of the RAF"

Kati Röttger, "Beyond Medusa: Recovering History on Stage"

Anneke Smelik, "The Virtuality of Time: Mediated Memories in Film"

11.30 am - discussion

12.00 am - lunch break

01.00 pm - coffee

01.15 pm - second session

Freddie Rokem, "Catastrophic Constellations: Picasso’s Guernica and Klee’s Angelus Novus"

Maaike Bleeker, "Playing Soldiers at the Edge of Imagination: Hotel Modern and the Theatre"

Kristina Hagström Ståhl, "Mourning as Method. William Kentridge’s Black Box/Chambre Noire"

03.00 pm - discussion

03.30 pm - coffee break

03.45 pm - third session

Maureen Turim, "On the Charge of Memory"

Joshua Hirsch, "Cross-Cultural Posttraumatic Cinemas"

05.00 pm - discussion

05.20 pm - closing remarks

05.50 pm - end

Practical information / Registration /Venues and how to get there


Side program Thursday 8 May

On the eve of the conference, on Thursday 8 May, two events related to the topics of the conference will take place in Ghent and Brussels.

Master Seminar Contemporary Performance Strategies
Art and Occupation. Images from the Border-landscapes between Israel and Palestine

A public seminar with Freddie Rokem (Tel Aviv University)

Thursday 8 May 2008, 1.30 pm - 4.45 pm @ Ghent University, Film Plateau

"I want to examine an incident at a road block which took place in November 2004, documented in a short video and was also reproduced as a still in Israeli media. This image immediately became broadly discussed and contested. It shows a young Palestinian man playing a violin at a check point while a group of Israeli soldiers are standing and guarding the place. This image was immediately drawn into larger clusters of signification where the rhetorical strategies employed become both quite complex and ambiguous.

Analyzing this image I will first discuss the historical associations of the image, arguing that the associations with the Holocaust are actually a way to minimize the pain and suffering of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation rather than highlighting them in a broader universal context. Another aspect of this image is connected to the technologies of creating and disseminating images of conflict/occupation and how they affect the ethical discussions surrounding this incident. In my conclusion I will argue that historical associations and technological innovations can create conflicting and even contradictory constellations which tend to obscure rather than sharpen the ethical dimensions of images like the Palestinian violin player at the check point.

I will also present a number of graffiti paintings on the separation wall, in particular by the British graffiti artist Banksy."

This public seminar is part of Master Seminar Contemporary Performance Strategies of the Department of Performance Studies and Film at the University of Ghent. The number of participants is limited. If you would like to attend, please contact frederik.leroy@ugent.be. The required literature will be send to you by e-mail.

Memory of the Camps
Film Screening of Memory of the Camps (1945)
Thursday 8 May 2008, 6.15 pm @ Royal Film Museum (bis)

Memory of the Camps is the (unauthorized) title of a British documentary film made in 1945 about the Nazi concentration and extermination camps. However, since the material was considered too horrific for 1945 audiences and because of logistical problems and changing political contexts, the film remained unfinished and was not publicly screened until 1984.

During the production, producer Sidney Bernstein asked director Alfred Hitchcock to contribute to the project as an advisor. His task was to make the film as interesting and telling as possible, cinematically shaping the material provided by army cameramen. To anticipate possible accusations of fake, Hitchcock suggested to avoid all tricky editing and to use as far as possible long shots and panning shots with no cuts. Strikingly, in his feature films of the late 1940s (some of which produced by Bernstein, such as Rope and Under Capricorn), Hitchcock would experiment with the aesthetics of the long take as well.

Memory of the Camps (1945, 35 mm, ca 55 minutes)

Production: Sidney Bernstein and Sergei Nolbandov for Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force; Screenplay: Richard Crossman and Colin Wills; Photography: Service cameramen with the British, American, and Russian armies; Editing: Stewart McAllister and Peter Tanner; Treatment Advisor: Alfred Hitchcock

Introduction by Steven Jacobs, author of The Wrong House: The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2007).

The screening of a silent copy of Memory of the Camps will be accompanied by a live reading of the original commentary.

Royal Film Museum (bis) 60 Rue Ravenstein, 1000 Brussels

Admission: €2 / €1

With the support of Royal Belgian Film Archive, Vlaamse Dienst voor Filmcultuur (VDFC), KASK Gent, Imperial War Museum, London, and Department of Performance Studies and Film, University of Ghent.


For all questions regarding the conference, please contact frederik.leroy@ugent.be or sofie.verdoodt@ugent.be


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