The Art of Forgetting

TitleThe Art of Forgetting
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1999
Series EditorForty, Adrian, and Susanne Küchler
Number of Pages239
PublisherBerg
CityOxford ; New York
Abstract

In tracing the process through which monuments give rise to collective memories, this path-breaking book emphasizes that memorials are not just inert and amnesiac spaces upon which individuals may graft their ever-shifting memories. To the contrary, the materiality of monuments can be seen to elicit a particular collective mode of remembering which shapes the consumption of the past as a shared cultural form of memory. In a variety of disciplines over the past decade, attention has moved away from the oral tradition of memory to the interplay between social remembering and object worlds. But research is very sketchy in this area and the materiality of monuments has tended to be ignored within anthropological literature, compared to the amount of attention given to commemorative practice. Art and architectural history, on the other hand, have been much interested in memorial representation through objects, but have paid scant attention to issues of social memory. Cross-cultural and interdisciplinary in scope, this book fills this gap and addresses topics ranging from material objects to physical space; from the contemporary to the historical; and from ‘high art' to memorials outside the category of art altogether. In so doing, it represents a significant contribution to an emerging field.

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