Virtual Discussion Counter-Memories: Joel Garcia & Paul Holdengräber | Los Angeles

Counter Memories Key Visual © Goethe-Institut

Mon, 10/12/2020 -
Sun, 10/31/2021


Shaping the Past

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”.  

In the United States, 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 investigates 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 Goethe Pop Up Kansas City, the Thomas Mann House, and Onassis LA convene artists, activists, and intellectuals for illustrated virtual conversations around historical memory.

The first episode will be released at 12:15 (PDT) on October 12th, 2020, Indigenous Peoples' Day, and brings Los Angeles based artist and cultural organizer Joel Garcia into discussion with interviewer and curator Paul Holdengräber to investigate the significance of place, memory, and memorialization to Indigenous communities in contemporary Los Angeles. The discussion includes the debate around the statue of Junipero Serra, who was instrumental in building the California mission system during the Spanish colonization. The statue was removed by activists in June 2020. 

Watch the Los Angeles episode here.  

Paul Holdengräber is an interviewer and curator. He is the Founding Executive Director of Onassis Los Angeles (OLA). Previously, and for 14 years, he was Founder and Director of The New York Public Library’s LIVE from the NYPL cultural series where he interviewed and hosted over 600 events, holding conversations with everyone from Patti Smith to Zadie Smith, Ricky Jay to Jay-Z, Errol Morris to Jan Morris, Wes Anderson to Helen Mirren, Werner Herzog to Mike Tyson. Before his tenure at the Library, Holdengräber was the Founder and Director of “The Institute for Art & Cultures” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and a Fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He is the host of the ongoing series The Quarantine Tapes: A week-day program from Onassis LA and dublab.

Joel Garcia is an Artist, Arts Administrator and Cultural Organizer with more than 20 years of experience working transnationally focusing on community-centered strategies. His approach is rooted in Indigenous-based forms of dialoguing and decision-making (non-hierarchical) that uplifts non-institutional expertise. Joel uses art and organizing to raise awareness of issues facing underserved communities, inner-city youth, and\ other targeted populations. He’s the co-founder of Meztli Projects, an Indigenous based arts & culture collaborative centering indigeneity into the creative practice of Los Angeles by using arts-based strategies to advocate for and organize to highlight issues impacting native artists and youth.