A modernity which forgets

Cologni, Elena (2015) A modernity which forgets. [Event, Show or Exhibition]

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Item Type:Event, Show or Exhibition
Item Status:Live Archive


During the Cambridge Festival of Ideas (2015) the program Cologni devised Gropius’ Impington, modernism and power, art and the rural opens up a debate on the importance of the connection between people and places, and the construction of memory, cultural (monuments) and communicative memory (live interaction, Assman). According to Paul Connerton (2009) this connection may be institutionalised, as in the case of the memorial monuments, such as architecture, but it is in often apparently anonymous places, experienced through the individual’s and everyday’s bodily actions that the individual’s memory’s grid is founded. Through the memories that these places evoke the individual can domesticate the surrounding world. However, Modernity has imposed a frantic pace to the transformation of human environments. The result is that memorials and architecture last, but the common, anonymous places that are the individual’s loci of memory (Connerton 2009) are often altered beyond recognition. In particular, with the continuous process of urbanisation of the countryside, an abstract ideal of the rural is often nurtured by our memories of how familiar places used to be.
‘The paradox of a culture which manifests so many symptoms of hypermnesia and which yet at the same time is post-mnemonic is a paradox that is resolvable once we see the causal relationship between these two features. Our world is hypermnesic in many of its cultural manifestations, and post-mnenonic in the structures of the political economy. The cultural symptoms of hypermnesia are caused by a political-economic system which systemically generates a post-mnemonic culture – a Modernity which forgets.’[4]

Cologni’s approach through her art intervention enters the texture of the memory construction process by establishing a dialogue with local residents and students, as well as building on documents of people’s experience and influence of the Gropius’s building in the 30’s and 40’s, when it was surrounded by orchards and the farm of the Chivers’ family. These found information give voice to a fictional character as Cologni’s alter ego: one of the 3000 women once employed here and coming to the Corridor Club at Impington.
With these in mind Cologni’s body of work include these aspects in the exhibition: The archive material presented shows mnemonic lacunae, missing details about the people who came to work, study and live in Impington; A visualisation and materialisation of overlooked spaces for interaction in the Corridor Club revival; The sculptures as architecture off-cuts of unused spaces between the bay windows at the front of the Gropius building, occupying the space of a crouched body, are moved around the site, as from her drawings.
Cologni’s response is symbolically in memory of all people whose nomadic way of living inevitably shows paradoxes like cherishing their memories, while also erasing part of them to make room for new ones in the encounter of a new place.

Additional Information:This included a symposium and two workshops as in links above. A further iteration include a screening at Open Systems in Vienna
Keywords:Gropius, Rural, Modernity, Memory, Woman, Migrations
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
W Creative Arts and Design > W990 Creative Arts and Design not elsewhere classified
X Education > X990 Education not elsewhere classified
W Creative Arts and Design > W130 Sculpture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Fine Arts)
Related URLs:
ID Code:26808
Deposited On:22 Mar 2017 16:40

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