MJ#15 “I Forgot to Remember to Forget”
Manifesta Journal 15’s title comes from a 1955 Elvis Presley jukebox country classic. Some contributors re-examine the underpinnings of memorialization and historiography, whether produced by the state, civil society or individuals. Other contributors (writers, poets, and scholars) meditate on art works and films that represent, re-present and re-enact repressed histories.
The issue opens with Fawwaz Traboulsi’s “Guilt Matters?”, which critiques “culturalism”, and reflects on the rapport between remembering and forgetting in the Lebanese civil war. Başak Ertür’s “Plenty of History” questions visibility and access to knowledge in public libraries in Istanbul as regards the Armenian genocide, and Gareth Evans contemplates “thinking through time” in Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia for the Light. Emeka Ogboh’s crafted soundscape, “The Ambivalence of 1960” draws the gaps of unfulfilled promises and betrayed history, fifty years after independence in Nigeria.
In Elena Sorokina’s Zero Gravity Revolt, 1930s Soviet science-fiction texts are (re)enacted to embody the promises of scientific communism in popular fiction, in which even levitation in trans-planetary revolutionary realms was possible. Then, curator of the web-archive “Tuning Baghdad”, Regine Basha shares personal memories and a private musical archiveof visual clips and audio recordings of “almost” forgotten Iraqi musicians, while Sami Shalom Chetrit reconstructs a photo album of the Israeli Black Panthers movement. Inspired by Edgar Arceneaux’s exhibition, Hopelessness Freezes Time by Haig Aivazian later medidates on the legacy of the civil rights struggle.
For Anna Colin, the witch, a “surviving deviant”, embodies forms of knowledge that cannot be co-opted, and for Gregory Sholette, the “hidden surplus” in artistic production and consumption holds the potential for insurgency. Filipa Ramos travels in time to visit the controversial milestone exhibition Contemporanea (arte 1973–1955) in Rome, whereas Marina Fokidis reflects retrospectively on the provocatively-titled 2007 edition of the Athens Biennial, Destroy Athens!
Ivana Bago and Antonia Majača then propose to stall the production time of a biennial in order to reset the framework for interpretation and reflection; and the collective Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency resurrect the notion of the “common” as a ground for imagining a return to a moment prior to colonization.
Yazan Khalili visits aliens in the West Bank, and Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History emerges in Ashkan Sepahvand’s uncanny poetic reverie entitled “She Was a Party”.
Finally, Manifesta Journal 15 closes with a war-simulation network game by Joseph Del Pesco and Al McElrath that “never forgets”.
The editorial team of Manifesta Journal is composed of:
- Chief Editor: Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Paris
- Associate Editor: Virginie Bobin, Paris
- Guest Editor(MJ #14–16): Rasha Salti, Beirut
- Managing Editor: Lisa Mazza, Bolzano / London
- Copy Editor: Shannon d’Avout, Paris