How does the past take shape, and what happens in the process of coming to terms with the past? What social repercussions are associated with the rooting of history in monuments and memorials? How can those narratives be shifted or upended through alternative, innovative approaches to memorialization?
These questions are at the center of Shaping the Past, a partnership between Monument Lab, the Goethe-Institut, and the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb). More on this project
But as surely as the future becomes the past, the past becomes the future
Ursula K. Le Guin
Virtual walking tour - Toronto Black Digital Futures
The multidisciplinary Canadian artist Quentin VerCetty invites you to follow him on a virtual walking tour, reimagining Toronto's monuments by foregrounding neglected Black biographies and exploring Black digital futures. VerCetty will share his walk around downtown Toronto with the audience, present biograhical shorts of Black leaders, host a live conversation with artist-mentor Ken Lum and a Q&A with the audience.
Virtual walking tour - Montreal Missing Black Technofossil Here
Missing Black Technofossil Here is a public space intervention and conversation proposed by multidisciplinary Canadian artist and Monument Lab fellow Quentin VerCetty. Featuring a performance by multidisciplinary artist Laurie Rose Dauphine, as well as an introduction by Paul Farber, Director of the Monument Lab in Philadelphia.
Artist Talk - Online Reflections on Dreaming and Black and Indigenous Futures
Monument Lab fellow Alisha Wormsley and multi-disciplinary artist Suzanne Kite have introduced the public to their practice of collective community dreaming as a means to shape the past by daring to sculpt the future.
In Canada, the US, Germany, and throughout the world, citizens are questioning conventional historical narratives and reflecting on the meanings and implications of public monuments. Recent protests and interventions around statues of Confederate generals and figures such as Columbus and Bismarck reflect a yearning to correct and critically re-examine dominant histories and their ongoing legacies in the present.
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.
Counter-Memories is a cooperation between the Goethe-Institutes North-America, the Onassis Foundation Los Angeles and the Thomas Mann House in collaboration with the project Shaping the Past.
The fellows for Shaping the Past come from Monument Lab's 2019 and 2020 fellowship cohorts and were selected from an applications pool of over 100 memory workers throughout North America and Germany with existing projects using art, activism, history, journalism, and other tools to approach monuments in their communities. Applications were reviewed by a jury representing the fields of art, history, and social engagement, who recommended applicants who demonstrated excellence, innovative processes and projects for public engagement.