Traces of the past: Alternative forms of repair in visual culture and public memory

Michaela Quadraro, Anna Lisa Tota


This paper will investigate the crucial role played by images in the public arena as conveyers of meanings and social relations. Visuality, as a cultural and social practice in which meanings are constructed and negotiated, will be explored as a primary medium of the intersubjective transmission of trauma that involves both the artist’s perspective and the viewer’s reception. Several contemporary art productions emerging from a context of diaspora and cultural hybridity speak of a past that cannot be forgotten and wounds that cannot be fully healed, but still demand recognition or an alternative form of “repair”. An act of repair invokes a creative ethics and a potential for transformation, in an open-ended process of change that also brings to the fore concerns over the tensions between memory and representation, particularly when they relate to experiences of communal trauma



Photography, Public Memory, Traumatic Past, Reconciliation.

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