Collective Amnesia

Fundació Joan Miró

Collective Amnesia: international symposium and workshop. July 8–11, 2014. Fundació Joan Miró


A debate about contemporary memorial culture: how and why do we commemorate historical facts? An international symposium, and a workshop about the forgotten shanty towns on Montjuïc, will open a space of discussion on the subject of memorials from the perspective of art and contemporary thought.

With Collective Amnesia, we will explore the backside of a key concept of historiography in the last decades, namely “collective memory,” as formulated by Maurice Halbwachs. “Collective amnesia” can be considered to correspond to a formation that is generated in the wake of commemorations and memorials that declare themselves “official.” From Halbwachs’ perspective, forgetting, like remembering, is a collective act. According to recent developments in the philosophy of history and contemporary thought, everything that is omitted from the past reveals much more about a given culture than what it registers as history and promotes as collective memory.

Collective Amnesia is conceived as a space for discussion around the intersections that occur between artistic practice and historiography. With the symposium and the workshop, we will offer opportunities to debate and collaborate with agents who come from different cultural sectors involved in experimental processes of knowledge production.

The symposium will include the participation of experts coming from the fields of artistic practice, historiography and contemporary thought. The workshop, in turn, will be focused on the Montjuïc slums, a specific case study directly linked with the site on which the Fundació Joan Miró sits. It is a side of things that the city of Barcelona has tried to forget even though they grew in the wake of what has been championed as the launching platform of urban development in 20th-century Barcelona: the hill of Montjuïc. For the workshop, we count on the collaboration of a number of groups and organizations from Barcelona that are working on the recovery of the memory of this urban phenomenon.


International symposium: “Debate on Contemporary Memorial Culture”. July 8 and 9, 4–8:30pm. Fundació Joan Miró’s Library

Miriam Basilio, Associate Professor of Art History and Museum Studies, NYU
Azul Blaseotto, visual artist, (La Dársena Platform) Buenos Aires
Oriol Fontdevila, curator and art critic
María Ruido, visual artist, researcher and cultural producer
Joan Roca, historian and geographer; President of the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat de Barcelona (MUHBA)
Francisco Rubio, art mediator
Enzo Traverso, S. B. Winokur Professor in the Humanities, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Workshop in Montjuïc: Exploring the Informal City. July 9–11, 10am–2pm. Fundació Joan Miró’s Espai Taller

Public Presentation of the workshop’s conclusions: July 11, 6pm. Plaça del Mig, Can Clos (Barcelona)

With the collaboration of the Centre d’Estudis de Montjuïc, Lúa Coderch, Antonio Gagliano, Valeria Giacomoni, Grupo por el Cambio (Can Clos), Oriol Granados, Imma Jansana, Lola Lasurt, Taller de ficció, Mercè Tatjer, among others.


Collective Amnesia is a collaborative project between the Fundació Joan Miró and Tricentenari BCN. It is part of Preventive Archaeology, an exhibition program at Espai 13, the Fundació’s project room for emerging artists.

Coordinated by Oriol Fontdevila and LaFundició