Arts & Conflict. Contesting the Unavailability of Cultural Heritage

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Organized by Prof. Dr. Liliana Gómez (UZH)



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In the present global situation of radical transformation of landscapes and urban spaces due to lasting or emergent political, economic and environmental conflicts, to encounter the unavailability of material and immaterial cultural heritage and its changing values becomes a pressing task. Transitions from a violent past are mediated by artifacts and cultural practices that are anchored on civil society. Arts such as literature, photography, visual arts, performance, sculpture, curatorial practices, architecture or film, have contested these voids, material traces and remains ever since by creating dissonant narratives and alternative spaces. They have critically revisited the concepts of material and immaterial cultural heritage, framed mainly by institutional initiatives, to protect it particularly in regions that experience war, social upheavals or lack of resources for the preservation of material and immaterial collections, archives, monuments, and other documents. Arts have become critical sources for civil imaginations, as they address historical oblivion, regeneration and the unavailability of cultural heritage.

The conference aims to discuss the idea and various initiatives of material and immaterial cultural heritage and the role of the arts in understanding decolonizing processes in the global history, particularly in Latin America and the Middle East, and in articulating alternative semantics and spaces. It brings together artists, curators, activists, academics and intellectuals with various disciplinary backgrounds with the attempt to draw a balance of the role of cultural production in regions of transition.

Organized by Prof. Dr. Liliana Gómez (UZH)