Reimagining the near past and constructing local identities. A Fulbright project by Linnea West (2012-13)
“The point of departure for the symposium is the idea, formulated by Benedict Anderson and Edward Said (among others), that art and popular culture play an important role in the construction of national communities or geographies. But what kind of images are significant in these imaginary constructions? Are these the ‘canonical’ images that everyone knows? Do these images change over time and if so, as a result of which forces? And what is the relation between the interpretation of these images as a form of national capital and the processes of globalisation, both of which have been increasingly criticised in the past two decades? And do national identities – and the art and popular culture images attached to them – still matter, when supranational communities and their related identities, such as the European Union, are quickly gaining territory?
The symposium will also critically examine how the geographical model has become seemingly ineradicable in the academic and museological interpretation of art and visual culture: will we ever, or should we ever, abandon the concept of nationality as a primary structuring principle? The symposium aims to stimulate the critical, theoretical and academic reflection on the apparent tension field between national identity and globalisation, and the role that (canonical) art and visual culture play in this.”
-From the program for Visual Culture and National Identity: A Symposium, June 2010