Panel Presentations

Authors

Stephen A. Setman '14, Gettysburg College

Location

Breidenbaugh Hall 307

Session

German Studies Capstone: Memory, Culture and Identity in German-Speaking Countries of the Present

Start Time

5-3-2014 9:00 AM

End Time

5-3-2014 10:15 AM

Supervising Faculty Member

Laurel Cohen-Pfister

Department

German Studies

Description

The lasting presence of graffiti in major cities like Berlin raises the question, what kind of perspective does such an art form have on memory? Given that graffiti are written or painted on structures and buildings, which are already their own kind of monument, and that the content of graffiti tends towards the politically and socially critical, how are we to understand the relationship of these works to places of memory creation? Why, for example, do we sometimes give monumental protection (Denkmanlschutz) to works of graffiti, and why so often not? My research investigates the roll of graffiti in cultural memory and follows both after the theoretical work of Friedrich Nietzsche and Jan Mieszkowski and the empirical works of Dennis Beyer and Uta Papen, the latter of whom analyze the monumental value of graffiti and the roll of the public space. I expect that the graffiti artist is to be seen not as historically, but anti-historically minded and therefore critically engaged with the places that influence memory creation. This discourse will be shown to reveal, very much through graffiti’s own ephemeral and transient nature, the capacity of these messages to re-open the canvas of the public space to critical dialogue between peoples.

 
May 3rd, 9:00 AM May 3rd, 10:15 AM

The Artist and the Rebel: The Art of Graffiti and Its Impact on Memory Architecture

Breidenbaugh Hall 307

The lasting presence of graffiti in major cities like Berlin raises the question, what kind of perspective does such an art form have on memory? Given that graffiti are written or painted on structures and buildings, which are already their own kind of monument, and that the content of graffiti tends towards the politically and socially critical, how are we to understand the relationship of these works to places of memory creation? Why, for example, do we sometimes give monumental protection (Denkmanlschutz) to works of graffiti, and why so often not? My research investigates the roll of graffiti in cultural memory and follows both after the theoretical work of Friedrich Nietzsche and Jan Mieszkowski and the empirical works of Dennis Beyer and Uta Papen, the latter of whom analyze the monumental value of graffiti and the roll of the public space. I expect that the graffiti artist is to be seen not as historically, but anti-historically minded and therefore critically engaged with the places that influence memory creation. This discourse will be shown to reveal, very much through graffiti’s own ephemeral and transient nature, the capacity of these messages to re-open the canvas of the public space to critical dialogue between peoples.