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Genealogy of Amnesia: Rethinking the Past for a New Future of Conviviality

Project leader:
Marina Grzinic

Project team:
Christina Jauernik, Sophie Uitz, Sefik Tatlic, Valerija Zabret

Funded by:
FWF – Austrian Science Fund | PEEK (AR439)


FWF I PEEK-Project
led by Marina Grzinic, Studio of Conceptual Art (Post-Conceptual Art Practices), Institute for Fine Arts
Duration: 1.2.2018 – 31.12.2021

“Genealogy of Amnesia: Rethinking the Past for a New Future of Conviviality”, with a team of researchers builds an interdisciplinary platform for the study of the current politics of oblivion concerning three traumatic pasts’ events of the twentieth century in the European context. These traumatic pasts and its events take a fundamental role in the construction of national identities, and are all connected with genocides:

  • The construction of a Belgian identity in the aftermath of its colonial past (1885). The long and important tradition of postcolonial subjectivities cannot be captured without reflection on past colonialism; the Belgian Congo is its ultimate form.
  • The construction of a national identity in Austria after the Anschluss , ‘annexation’ of Austria into Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938.
  • The construction of a new national identity in Serbia and Republika Srpska (‘Serb Republic’), along with the negation of war crimes after the dissolution of Yugoslavia (1990‒present).

It is important to state immediately that in contrast with Austria and Belgium, Republika Srpska is not a state, but a self-proclaimed extra territorial entity that declares its ‘full-autonomy’, though being part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The goal of the research project is to display a new map of Europe or of the European Union that reconceptualizes a new postcolonial subjectivities that are closely connected to Western European (Occidental) colonialism and the migrant labour force that came to Occidental Europe in order to reconstruct its physiognomy after the Nazi past of Western Europe. Finally, the forming of new post-socialist identities in the former Yugoslavia is a direct result of the Balkan war in the 1990s. Last but not least, Austria’s own past and its endemic and durable anti-Semitism is a key for the critical understanding of Europe (European Union) of today.

The project is structured in three parts consisting of a symposium, a book and an international group exhibition that will discuss artistic positions dealing with issues of collective amnesia.

Project team

Marina Gržinić is a philosopher, theoretician and artist from Ljubljana, Slovenia. She serves as a professor and research adviser. Since 2003, she is Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria. She publishes extensively, lectures worldwide, and is involved in videofilm productions since 1982. From 2018 to 2020 she is leading the research project “Genealogy of Amnesia”, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Programme for Arts-based Research. Selection of books: M. Grzinic and Rosa Reitsamer, New feminism: worlds of feminism, queer and networking conditions, Vienna: Löcker, 2008; M. Grzinic and Sefik Tatlic, Necropolitics, Racialization, and Global Capitalism. Historicization of Biopolitics and Forensics of Politics, Art, and Life, US: Lexington books, 2014; M. Grzinic, ed. Border Thinking, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Sternberg Press, 2018.

Sophie Uitz has completed her PhD in Political Science at the University of Vienna. Her research specialties are contemporary political and social theory, focussing on political authority, (il)legitimacy and justification, liberalism, comparative cultural studies and gender studies. Her doctoral thesis, titled Politik, Krise, Autorität: Hannah Arendt über die Begründung von Gemeinschaft, discusses the topicality of Hannah Arendt’s notion of authority and the assessment of its crisis in modern, liberal politics. She is a postdoctoral researcher from 2018-2020 in the transdisciplinary research project “Genealogy of Amnesia”, and a lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna. Recent publications include: “Question authority. Hannah Arendt und das Scheitern der Frage nach Autorität”, in: Kohns et al. (eds.), Autorität – Krise, Konstruktion und Konjunktur, Wilhelm Fink, Paderborn, 2016, 25–40.

Šefik Tatlić is a theorist in the field of political philosophy, decolonial theory and cultural critique. Some of the recent publications include the following papers "Atavistic Core of Postmodern Totalitarianism. Depoliticization of Death and the Sovereignty of Capitalism" (AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, Faculty of Media and Communications, Belgrade, 2017), "The Emancipation of Necrocapitalism: Teleological Function of Liberalism and the Optimization of Hegemony" (Regimes of Invisibility in Contemporary Art, Theory and Culture, Palgrave Macmillan, London 2017.) and the "Contemporaneity of Colonialism: Capitalist modernity, Imperial Racism and Necropolitics" (Holon journal, Zagreb, 2016.) He has been writing regularly for Reartikulacija journal (Ljubljana), published a lot of theoretical texts in various countries and gave a number of public lectures. He holds a PhD in sociology and lives in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

Christina Jauernik studied contemporary dance at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Amsterdam, choreography and visual arts practices at Dartington College of Arts, UK and art and architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna as well as at the University of Arts Berlin. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. From 2015-2017 Jauernik was an artistic researcher for the project INTRA SPACE led by Wolfgang Tschapeller at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Since 2012 she has collaborated with Wolfgang Tschapeller on exhibition, design and publication projects, among these “Hands have no tears to flow” at the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the Fine Arts Library at Cornell University Ithaca, NY, the exhibition “OSIRIS – World 1” at ORIS House of Architecture Zagreb as well as curating the lecture series “What beings are we?” at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Affiliated researchers

Nejra Nuna Čengić holds a PhD in Anthropology at AMEU-ISH Ljubljana. Her research interests focus on memory (-ies), speech, violence and gender relations. She lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Adla Isanović holds a PhD in philosophy from the Postgraduate School ZRC SASA, Ljubljana, Slovenia, on the theme of databases and art in the function of knowledge production in the digital age. She is associate Professor at Academy of Fine Arts of the University in Sarajevo, where she teaches multimedia.

Jelena Juresa is a visual artist from Novi Sad, Serbia, based in Belgium. She has been extensively working with the questions of national identity, politics of memory and oblivion through the media of photography and video installation. She has exhibited internationally at institutions such as KM – Kunstlerhaus, Halle fur Kunst und Medien, Graz; MSUB Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, ACFNY Austrian Cultural Forum New York. Juresa is currently a PhD candidate at Ghent University, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy and KASK Conservatorium.

Filming and editing of the Video Archive

Valerija Zabret (also known as Valerie Wolf Gang) is a visual artist and filmmaker from Slovenia.

Muzaffer Hasaltay , artist, filmmaker, employed as teaching assistant for the Art Studio  Konzept Kunst at the Institute of Fine Arts, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Contact and Office

Marina Grzinic
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Lehargasse 6-8/II, 1060 Vienna