Université Paris 8
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Art and Postmemory in Rwanda

Project leaders:
Soko Phay-Vakalis
Pierre Bayard

In collaboration with:
Columbia University
Centre Bophana
Rutgers University
Centre IRIBA pour le Patrimoine Multimédia

This project aims to think on the concept of postmemory and how it is fruitful in literary and artistic creation. Postmemory refers to different effects of traumatic events, not on direct victims, but on the following generations which sometimes have not even heard of it. This unclear conscience of what ancestors went through often leads them to express this search for meaning in literary or artistic works.

The events we chose to study are 20th-century genocides, especially Cambodian genocide. Our research will lead to an international symposium in New-York in April 2013 by the universities Paris 8, Columbia and Rutgers. The symposium will be combined to an exhibition of artwork from three generations of Cambodian artists, some of which created in Cambodia in August 2012, as part of "memory workshops".

The program intends to study how arts take responsibility for this indirect memory and ensure its transmission from different types of archives and traces. We will also promote new cultural and artistic expressions through four works: a memory workshop, a documentary, an international symposium and a collective exhibition.

In 2014, our project aims to transpose our Cambodian experience to Rwanda, thinking about similarities and differences between the two situations. For this project, an exploration mission in Kigali from January 12th to 18th will be followed by three stages. This mission will end all events on Cambodia and will, at the same time, re-open the work program and link the two group of events.

Labex Arts-H2H

The Laboratory of Excellence in Arts and Human Mediations is part of the “Investments for the future” program since 2011. As part of this program, its members conduct research following three main lines: situations, technologies, hybridization.

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