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Counter Memories Key Visual© Goethe-Institut


The conversation series Counter-Memories will investigate a number of international monuments and places of remembrance whose symbolic significance often reveals a great deal about our relationship to history. The Goethe-Institutes in North America, the Thomas Mann House, and Onassis LA will convene artists, activists, and intellectuals for illustrated virtual conversations around historical memory. See here the recordings of the conversations that have taken place so far.

Counter-Memories Episode 6 – Ada Pinkston & Angela N. Carroll | Baltimore © VATMH e. V.

Ada Pinkston & Angela N. Carroll

The Green Book was established by African-Americans in search of spaces for freedom of movement against a backdrop of white supremacist Jim Crowe policies throughout the U.S. When the Green Book was most circulated, Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland was an energetic hub of African-American arts, culture and entertainment. Artists Ada Pinkston and Angela N Carroll examine the contrast between the cultural vibrancy of this past moment and the lack of resources of this present day.

Mischa Kuball & Paul Holdengräber © Google Earth

Mischa Kuball & Paul Holdengräber

The synagogue in Stommeln is one of the few places of public Jewish life in Germany that was not destroyed during the 1938 pogroms. In order to create a new perception and attention among the population for this place, the conceptual artist and professor of public art Mischa Kuball illuminated the synagogue over a period of eight weeks. The building cast light on its surroundings like a light sculpture and became a symbol visible from afar. 

Susan Neiman & Paul Holdengräber | Berlin © Goethe-Institut

Susan Neiman & Paul Holdengräber

Philosopher Susan Neiman, director of the Einstein Forum, joins curator Paul Holdengräber for a conversation about the Soviet Memorial in Berlin’s Treptower Park. The monument was erected in 1949 in memory of the thirteen million fallen soldiers of the Soviet Union who gave their lives fighting fascism. On the anniversary of the end of World War II, people commemorate their fallen loved ones there. But despite its monumental size, it has little presence in the collective consciousness of the German capital.

Veka Duncan & Elianna Kan | Mexico City © Goethe-Institut

Mexico City
Veka Duncan & Elianna Kan

The art historian Veka Duncan and the translator and author Elianna Kan discuss the Tlatelolco district in Mexico City. After the severe earthquake in 1985, the residents of Tlatelolco erected a sundial on the rubble of the former Nuevo Leon building to commemorate the victims. The history of Mexico City and especially of Tlatelolco resembles a palimpsest: historical events have left their traces, and in turn have been covered over by other events but never completely obliterated.

Glenn North, Staci Pratt & Amira El Ahl | Kansas City © Goethe-Institut

Kansas City
Glenn North, Staci Pratt & Amira El Ahl

The Counter-Memories Kansas City episode centers around the story of the Levi Harrington Memorial Marker as an example of how a local initiative in Kansas City is attempting to remember the countless victims of lynchings and create historical memory. Its comprised of a conversation between Glenn North and Staci Pratt, the two founders of the Community Remembrance Project of Missouri Kansas City, and journalist Amira El Ahl.

Counter-Memories: Joel Garcia & Paul Holdengräber | Los Angeles © Erick Iñiguez

Los Angeles
Joel Garcia & Paul Holdengräber

Paul Holdengräber is an interviewer and curator. He is the Founding Executive Director of Onassis Los Angeles (OLA). His conversation with Joel Garcia, Artist, Arts Administrator and Cultural Organizer with more than 20 years of experience working transnationally focusing on community-centered strategies is about monuments and the history of slavery and oppression in Los Angeles.