Time, Memory and Representation
Time, Memory and Representation is a research program that gathers 25 scholars from 14 different disciplines, for a joint exploration and development of recent transformations in historical consciousness, and its implications for the human and historical sciences. The program is funded by Riksbankens jubileumsfond (The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Donation). It is organized from Södertörn University, but researchers are recruited from all six major universities in Sweden (Uppsala, Lund, Stockholm, Göteborg, Linköping, and Umeå). Further, an international board of experts contributes to Time, Memory, Representation with expertise in various fields covered by the program.
The post-war period has witnessed an increased preoccupation with the role and significance of historical knowledge, and the relation between the present, past, and future. During the last decades, through the linguistic and hermeneutic turn in philosophy, with critical cultural analysis, genealogy, feminist critique of science and established canons, conceptual analysis, and post-colonial “subaltern” questioning of culturally biased narratives, the very way in which history is studied, interpreted, and produced, has become a central academic concern. This academic concern also mirrors a more general growing preoccupation in Western culture with history, with politics of memory, with the cultural heritage, the construction and destruction of memorials.
The program explores this new common territory in three general sections organized along the key words: Time, Memory and Representation. The first section develops the conceptual historical critique of fundamental historical categories, including established chronologies, the second investigates how politics of memory and uses of history shape the relation to the past and explores the existential foundations for historical consciousness, and the third explores how different mediums (literature, film, language) shape and influence historical narratives and representations, and how this orients historical consciousness.
Karlholm will contribute a study which addresses the need within art history to reconsider the standard scheme of historicizing art, with particular view to how “contemporaniety” is and has been understood. The “contemporaneity” to which contemporary art ultimately refers appears less as a temporal sequence than as a contested space of issues of relevance for “us” “here” “now”. The standard mode of art history writing, modelled on 19th-century narratives of unilinear development, is ill suited for assessing contemporary art as a historical-conceptual phenomenon. This art is discursively dissociated from the past as well as the future, and excluded from most art simultaneous with it. To avoid perpetuating historicism by suggesting further neo- or post-isms, the need to critically reconsider this entire scheme of historicizing art is evident. The project will compare a number of historical situations or microenvironments of art over two centuries in order to establish discursive regularities as well as contingent nuances when it comes to situating art to (ones own) time. Building on the work of Jacques Rancière, Niklas Luhmann and Reinhard Koselleck, the intention is to contribute to an understanding of modernity, where new artworks are not merely diachronically linked to previous contenders, but situated in their respective synchronic environments and art systems.