Panels (updates)

Memory, Place, Photography 2016

Centro de Informação Urbana de Lisboa – CIUL, 29-31 January 2016

Keynote Lectures

The Unlikely Museum of Image and Contemporary Art

João Paulo Serafim

29 January, 2016 at 2.15 pm


The Photographic Event: Observation on Place, Memory and the Archeologies of Forgetting

Paul Halliday

30 January, 2016 at 10.00 am



P1 On the Family Album Project
29 January, 2016 at 3.15 pm

Chair: Carla Duarte

Recollecting the family album:  re-enacting memory

AuthorAna Janeiro

During the years of the dictatorial regime in Portugal many people migrated to the colonies and other territories for political or economic reasons. Amongst those were my grandparents who left Lisbon to go to Portuguese India (Estado da Índia) in 1951. Having always opposed, and often participated in the struggle against the regime, being under pressure by the secret police they decided to leave- in 1951. In 2009 I took on the task of telling this story.

Re-curating the Family Archive

Author: Tanya Houghton

The family archive; a multifaceted image memory bank, added to and curated by family members over generations. Some archives continue to grow, others fade and gather dust, sometimes forgotten, sometimes rediscovered. They act as aids in the familiar storytelling of the past, generational passing’s on of tales of heritage and culture, photographic memento’s of families frozen in time. These memories are adapted and altered over time; through this paper the author invites us to question the clarity and authorship of the recording of our personal histories and to re-curate the stories they tell.

Portals and Passageways

Author: Kamal Badhey

Stories, material culture, and photographs can be used to synthesize a narrative of the past and present. In this paper I will show how visual and auto-ethnography form an intergenerational collective memory of a family business in India. Specifically, I will be looking at my family jewelry shop, Annam Rathnaiah and Sons in Secunderabad, India, as well as the ancestral home of the family. The shop was started by Annam Rathnaiah, 130 years ago and has continued to sell traditional, handmade gold jewelry, in the General Bazaar section of Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad.

P2 On Memory, Place and Time
29 January, 2016 at 4.15 pm

Chair: Beatriz Véliz Argueta

 Cova do Vapor

Author: Stefano Carnelli

Cova do Vapor  is an informal settlement located on the southern side of the estuary of the river Tagus, edging the limits of the Lisbon metropolitan area. It was founded in the 1940’s as a fishing community and, still today, is mainly inhabited by fishermen and their families. The landscape that surrounds the village tells us the story of an area where past and present coexist in a complex relation, expressing unsolved dynamics of spatial domination and urban marginality. The pressure of Globalization becomes especially evident here, where the presence of a gargantuan industrial complex and a tacky touristic town, both in the close proximity of the village, act like dangerous models for a possible future exploitation of this endangered portion of the coast. The study of Cova’s particular past, conflictive present and uncertain future frames concepts of identity, community and sense of home, contextualizing them in an environment of urban alienation and exclusion, direct expressions of the pressure of Globalization.

Notes on Dust: Looking for Everyday Time in the Interior

AuthorAlia Zapparova

My paper explores the relationship between the everyday, the domestic interior and time. I look at the figure of dust in the domestic interior and show how close attention to this substance enables the photograph to be an exploration of how we occupy everyday space. The question about the space of the everyday is transformed into the question of the possibilities of living in domestic space, of what it means to be in a room, and the image that this question conjures up is an image of dust. The interior becomes more than merely a setting for domestic ritual: it is not where something happens, but how it happens. Here the interior is the everyday, it is the passage of the day, the passage of time. In the room, everyday time happens in the forms of repetition and stillness. We encounter this time as habit and waiting; repetition-habit is acted out as everyday ritual, while stillness-waiting is performed as nothing happens. My paper develops this line of thought about habit and waiting as forms of time and shows how the image of dust becomes the temporality of the everyday.

Memory and palimpsests: the beauty of the inexistent

AuthorMarta de Sousa Pinto

In the way to expose the relationship between meditation, contemplation and space/time, this essay is about the symbiosis between these three elements and the romantic scenography produced by the ruin, languages and common processes: light, shadow and twilight as nostalgic archetypes. This image of degeneration and collapse, observed in temples and infortifications, establishes an inherent relationship between spirituality, meditation and contemplation, where their atmospheres explore and perform these notions of sacred and profane, scenic space and memory in architecture. The ruin can be interpreted as a physical documentation of a transformative process, due to its strong connection with the past. But the ruin cannot resist perpetually to time, if not preserved somehow… It’s a corrupted and transformative architecture where the dichotomy space/time is present: space as an identity factor and time as a straight unavoidable degeneration.

From a window in a hotel (translated from the original title Desde una ventana de un hotel)

AuthorIgnacio Piqueras

From a window in a hotel is an ongoing body of work depicting views from hotel rooms which the artist has occupied. This project responds to his need to retain a specific emotional memory in a particular city or location. In his professional work as an expert guide in the tourism industry, he annually spends dozens of nights in hotels. This lifelong project started in 2011, driven by the artist’s desire to create his own visual memory archive of his stays in hotels whilst working, stimulated specifically by his need to metaphorically escape the boredom of the interior of a hotel room which is separated by a window with the outside world. This visual essay tries to generate conversations around the act of looking into a space with a specific intention, the construction and transformation of memories, the role of photography in place-making. Other notions related to his personal attachment and the rituals of this particular photographic practice are well rooted in this project.

P3 Altered Historical Sites
30  January, 2016 at 11.05 am

Chair: Beatriz Véliz Argueta


AuthorPaulo Catrica

Looking through the window of the bus, travelling from the airport to the Ithaca Canal, we can see a flat and arid landscape dotted with prickly pear cactus, salt bushes and cut by palo santo trees. At times this scenery appears to be an archaeological site, unveiling small constructions, paths and structures, where vegetation grows through what resembles the remains of buildings. Baltra, also known as South Seymour, is a small island from the Galapagos archipelago, the only one that is not part of the National Park. It has no touristic attractions or sites worth of mention, thus it locates the main airport of the archipelago, daily crossed by hundreds of tourists. During World War II the island hosted a United States army airfield, part of the defending strategy of the South American coastline and the Panama Canal against Japanese submarines. The first American personnel arrived on April 1942, and in its peak it host aprox. 3.000 American soldiers. By September 1945 most of the personnel withdrawn and the military base was inactivated on April 1946. Draw with the format of an archive, the project BALTRA, contains a video piece, photographs, written documents and other memorabilia. All these contents refer to or were made at Baltra. The aim of this paper is to present and discuss how photographs operate within the boundaries of the archive, tracing the ‘memories’ and eventually constructing a ‘history’ of Baltra.

On Places. Cairo’s City of the dead: genius loci, contested memories and place attachment

Author: Anna Tozzi Di Marco

The photoessay, I propose here, represents the focal outcome of my fieldwork in Cairo’s City of the Dead where I lived for ten years. It is the core of a wider ethnographic photo and audio exhibition by Collettivo al-Qarafa ( I guide. Cairo’s City of the Dead is the Muslim urban cemetery wherein thousands of Egyptians live close to the dead, which are still buried there. The cohabitation which started in the 10th century, has its roots in the Egyptian funerary and religious rituals. During the following centuries the cemetery developed on Egyptian historical and cultural ties interrelated to local religious practises. In spite of the State’s modern narratives on memory attached to this place, my anthropological fieldwork has shown how resident community’s sentiment is rooted on its relationship to own dead and to dead saints. In particular, my photoessay focuses on these founding aspects of the City of the dead sense of place, that is its genius loci, and it explores the sense of belonging of its resident community. Every photo aims to highlight its living memories linked to its collective religious experiences and practices, through the material culture of funerary spaces, and immaterially the religious imaginaries and rituals. Moreover, my works on Cairo’s City of the dead, and specifically my photoessay, have the ambition to fight the prejudices on this place and the discrimination toward its inhabitants.

Memory, Photography & Place : Two Quotes & Ten Rambles

Author: John Levett

Renée Green writes:

“How can a relationship with the past exist in which memory functions as an archive process, allowing continual reconsideration, rather than as a form of entombment?” Changing the terms of the consideration from fluid to concrete I arrive at: How can a relationship with the past exist in which the archive functions as a memory process, allowing continual reconsideration, rather than as a form of entombment? Then: How can a relationship with the past exist in which the archive functions as a memory process, allowing continual reconstruction, rather than as a form of entombment? And further: How might that reconstruction suggest fresh modes of being in the world? In further words: If we can repurpose a past might we find purposes, proposals and practices that could impact on how we negotiate the current world? And if such were to be the case: Might artistic practice equally refresh its history as a repository of disorder, subversion and acts of resistance. Suggesting: Art practice as organisational apparatus. 

P4 About Environment, People and Photography
30  January, 2016 at 12.15

Chair: Valeria Ferraro

Making sense of place: an organic archaeology of urban landscape

AuthorPeter Coles

There is an expanding literature on analyzing cities as ecosystems – or ‘biospheres’ – in which plants and animals are essential for their sustainability. The focus is generally on the ecosystem services that urban (and peri-urban) trees, plants, rivers, etc. provide. The 2014 iTree survey in London, for example, calculated the total replacement value of London’s ‘urban forest’ (street, garden and park trees) as about £ 6.12 billion (EUR 8.36 billion), and their total annual benefits, in terms of pollution removal, carbon storage and storm water alleviation as about £ 132 million (EUR 180.4 million). In this paper, however, I would like to consider some of the socio-cultural aspects of London’s ‘urban forest’ and the value of ancient or ‘veteran’ trees, not just as part of English cultural heritage, but also for making sense of place, in a changing built environment, with sometimes massive demographic change.

Itinerant soliloquies and native image-making. A qualitative investigation of environmental victimization

AuthorLorenzo Natali

Only recently has criminology turned its attention to environmental disasters, harms and risks—a perspective known as “green criminology” (South 1998; White 2008; Natali 2013). Building on the green criminological endeavour, and starting from a radical interactionist approach (Athens 1994; 2007), the proposed project entails a pilot study whose aim is to explore and map the social perception and the social imagination that rotate around the seriousness of environmental crimes. Often they are “crimes”—in the wider meaning proposed by green criminology—that develop silently and slowly, as creeping disasters, contributing to the construction of new forms of “banality of evil” that still seem to evade, at least in part, today’s conscience. The itinerant soliloquy is a technique that tries to increase the value of the experiential and reflexive richness born of the encounter of the walking, the observing, the interpreting, the reflecting, the narrating—to oneself and to others— and the photographing, opening the criminological imagination to new forms of reflection and research on environmental crimes.

This hasn’t changed, but you will

AuthorJames Reid

Close to the southern most tip of the African Continent there are boulder fields created by volcanic action millions of years ago. The architecture of the natural Landscape and the architecture of the man made Landscape are linked together through mans habit and desire for shelter. This is an area which has tied my work together in photographic and philosophical terms. I started photographing these boulders some time ago, and recently I discovered the purpose of why I was capturing them. The work is an intervention in time, a moment in the life of these still monoliths as if imagining the moment when they were created. It is a moment which reflects my inner thoughts and has a melancholic quality as an experience and expression of this place at this time. The work was captured with a vision and desire to transpose what I could see today back to the time when these massive events had occurred. Ensconced, if you like in a world of imagination. And in reality very little has happened since then. Other than night and day, with erosion. Those who look at these moniliths are decaying, as part of change and the human condition. 

P5 On Memory, Spaces and Conflict and Representation
30  January, 2016 at 2.25

Introduction: Beatriz Véliz Argueta and Valeria Ferraro

The tragedy of landscape: Walking the migrant path from Italy to France

Author:  Karina Horsti

This presentation examines traces of irregular mobility in the internal European border zone between Italy and France. By combining ethnography, reflection and photography, the essay argues for mnemonic significance of a site – Path of Hope – which has offered a more hidden route for migrants and refugees. The stories among locals, the ruined buildings and objects on the path witness decades of irregular mobility in the area – from Jewish refugees during Nazism and Italian migrant workers to present day refugees. Using the theoretical concept of multidirectional memory (Rothberg 2009) the essay argues that the Path of Hope has multidirectional memory potential that artists, intellectuals and migrants actualize through their memory work in order to link the different histories that are layered on the path. Furthermore, this memory work connects experiences of different borders and their violence – both in the internal and external borders of Europe.

An Absent Other in Plain Sight: On Memory and Landscape in Cyprus

AuthorRabia Harmanşah

Fragments of memory lie in plain sight in Cyprus landscapes. On the one hand, ‘conspicuous’ monuments, museums, and narratives keep telling a story of the ethnic conflict and the ‘brutality’ of the Other. The heritage of the other community is often destroyed, vandalized, converted and at times become irrelevant and invisible for the current inhabitants. On the other hand, Cypriots have lived for almost half a century with the nostalgic, romantic memories of their former villages and houses, until they could cross the borders in 2003. This paradoxical juxtapositioning of these conflictual imaginaries of the lost land and the present-day home provoke multiple dynamic layers of memories, both individually and collectively. How is the absence of the Other transform the landscapes and the memories related to them? To what extent that ‘invisible’ trace of the Other shape the representations and stories? This paper will seek to discuss these questions, depending on a two-year ethnographic study in Southern and Northern Cyprus in 2010-2012.

P6 On Place and Representation
30  January, 2016 at 3.45 pm

Chair: Beatriz Véliz Argueta

Gone but Not Forgotten

Author: David Kendall

‘Gone but Not Forgotten’ explores how photographic images could be utilised to investigate the complexities of sensory perception, collective memory and visual production in cities over time. Weather patterns affect people’s mental and physical journeys on foot or inside vehicles. Climatic conditions can speed up or slow down mobility and restrict interaction between metropolitan and rural areas. Moisture, wind direction and chill factor can physically and psychologically affect visibility and free movement. This productive tension affects social relations across time and space, generating ocular landscapes that have no distinct presence or absence. Consequently, the monotony of a journey offers opportunities to consider the prosaic and habitual fabric of what is culturally perceived as a natural and urban landscape. Staring into space suggests a presence, provoking the viewer to question shared memory, personal identity and narrative structures within the city and its boundaries. The project investigates how linear narratives are disrupted and layered, allowing new optical accounts to emerge from the fusion of what is forgotten or remembered.

London Tableaux

AuthorAllan Grainger

The London Tableaux project is a further investigation of a concept that had its inception in a previous ongoing body of work entitled ‘In This Place’, which questioned whether the picturing of a place could be better realized by a contained temporal study within a single frame, that of a tableau. My interest then grew in the way photography might be able to depict a Psychogeographical encounter that was not reliant on sequential or disparate photographic studies, and which could be brought together as a collection of separate occurrences in a tableau that described aspects of temporality, memory, and the historical significance of place. 

P7 On Photography, Place and Collaborative Methods
30  January, 2016 at 4.45

Chair :Paul Halliday

The Patterns of the City. Image grids and clusters in visualizing urban materiality

Author: Ann Kroon

My paper presentation discusses the process of photographic visualization of the urban material landscape in a visual archeology of objects, where the referent materiality layers with the image and thus also becomes an inseparable part of the photograph’s materiality: through the visual content and depiction, as well as through the form, printing and presentation of the image (Edwards 2002).  The urban material landscape is conceptualized as “a street level form of archive,” a material “record of the past that continues to resonate in the present” (Hetherington 2013:18). In this, the photograph becomes an investigative and interpretative means to zoom in, freeze, and frame the subjective and artistic view of the researcher-photographer.

Simmel en passant. An urban intervention challenging the perception of public space

AuthorAnna Blattner

At the beginning of the 20th century Georg Simmel made an observation on what he calls the “blasé outlook” of cities’ inhabitants: due to overstimulation in public space they become unable to “react to new stimulations with the required amount of energy”. With Simmel’s text in mind and the idea to process the subject in an artistic way, Anna Blattner started to work on a photographic urban intervention in Kehl, a small south-western German town. In order to break the “blasé” attitude in public space she realized two interventions: a first one taking portrait images of passers-by on the market square and a second one printing the images in life-size and pasting them on a usually overlooked wall next to the train station, turning it into a public gallery. Anna Blattner will investigate the perception of urban space and question how a change of perception affects the social behaviour of its users.


AuthorAndy Day

Between April and June 2015, I made three trips to Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia collaborating with several parkour athletes from the region in order to seek out various ‘spomenik’, World War II monuments commissioned by the regime of Marshal Tito and scattered across former Yugoslavia. FORMER investigates issues surrounding collective memory, identity, and physical encounters with the landscape through bodies that are radically out of place. Playing with the term ‘Former Yugoslavia’, the title of the project refers also to the athlete and his formation of movement, memory, imagined futures and identity. The project comprises parkour, urban climbing, urban exploration, the multi-sensoriality of the image, embodied engagement with historicity, subversive practices and apolitical irreverence for sacrosanct space. It explores memory and the conflicted role of the monument through structures that are simultaneously forgotten and remembered, both ruins and live sites within a contested political, cultural and social context. Through collaborative, artistic, geographical methods—both in the performance of the physical encounter and in the resulting photographic imagery—FORMER investigates the implications of inscribing the body into and onto the landscape. 

The Oxenham House Neighbourhood Project

Author: Anita Strasser

This paper is about place-making through memory and photography, through the creation of community memory in the absence of a shared dialogue; it is about using participatory photographic research to facilitate this shared dialogue and social cohesion in Oxenham House, a block of flats in south-east London where I live, so that community memory may be created. The creation of a shared dialogue requires repeated encounters and collective participation as these processes foster communal values such as familiarity, trust and a sense of common purpose, and the Oxenham House Neighbourhood Project carried out for this paper was an attempt to facilitate the social processes that create these values. This involved creating repeated opportunities to meet such as collaboratively beautifying the communal areas, community gardening, and visiting each other for tea and a chat, all of which played an important role in facilitating social interaction. However, it also involved photographic research and the collecting and sharing of stories, the co-creation of images and texts, and the sharing of the final research outcome during a tea and cake afternoon. Through an action-research based approach, giving participants voice in the identification of problems, finding solutions and working towards change, the neighbours were fully involved in the project, and the shared dialogue that has been created has transformed strangers living alongside each other into neighbours who engage in social interaction and active community.


Due to a large number of people interested in the topic of the Symposium, we advise everyone planning to join the event to bear in mind that there is a limited number of seats available in the conference room so make sure to make it on time, thanks.

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