Curated by: Katrine Elise Agpalza Pedersen and Tereza Porybná
Memories are our time-machines. They exist simultaneously in the present, past and future, emerging from past contexts and influencing new ones. They ask to be shared, as memory cannot easily be contained, or live, within isolation from other beings or from our surroundings, as is also the case within our brain. When delving into her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease, Catriona Sandilands points to the fact that: “a memory traces an electro-chemical pathway from neuron to neuron (called an engram); and no two memories follow the same path, and the more often a particular path is followed, the more chemically sensitive particular neurons become to one another (…) in the act of remembering something, the world is, quite literally, written into our brain structure”.
But if the world is written in our memories, how are memories written in the world? What are the processes through which our human memories become part of the more-than-human ones? After Memory attempts to transgress the anthropocentric paradigm of how we understand memory. We investigate the human brain and beyond, we move from neurons to landscapes, from Earth to Cosmos, from mind to body. Inspired by writings by Sandilands, David Abram, Catherine Malabou and Ian Hacking, the three-day programme will offer lectures, screenings, performances, collective readings and interactive workshops in the form of deep listening or memory training. We will watch, listen, talk, move, remember, and forget. With a special focus on intergenerational memories and trauma, and more-than-human co-existence in our technological age, we will ask what happens to both human and non-human memories in an increasingly limited planetary biodiversity.
With the participation of: Oreet Ashery (IL/UK), Filip Dechterenko (CZ), Joe Dumit (US), Petra Hirtlová (CZ), Vojtěch Juřík (CZ), Kateřina Konvalinová (CZ), Lawrence Lek (DE/GB), Mercedes Mühleisen (NO), Helene Nymann (DK), Lucie Rosenfeldová (CZ), Catriona Sandilands (CA), Ivan Sekaj (SK), Elin Már Øyen Vister (NO), Martin Zetová (CZ), Martina Wilhelmová (CZ)
Friday 28 July
17:00 An introduction and meeting with curators Tereza Porybná and Katrine Elise Agpalza Pedersen
17:30 - 18:30 Deep Listening. Sound, movement, and meditation with Elin Már Øyen Vister.
Introduction to Deep Listening, with some warming up exercises and silent walk into the local surroundings and collective listening meditation. Elin Már has previously spent a week in the Woods, walking, sensing, foraging and just beginning to tune into the surrounding nature and living beings. It takes years to begin to really know a place, and as many of the symposium participants have never been in Orlické Mountains, it makes sense to meet, greet and sense the land and what lives and grows here at this time of the year.
19:00 - 20:15 Rhubarb and Other Stories: Gardens and Multispecies Memory. A lecture by Catriona Sandilands
Beginning with the gift of a rhubarb crown, this presentation considers gardens as sites of mingling between multiple forms of memory: embodied, biographical, vegetal, social, geological. I ask: what is the ethical promise of thinking with the interaction between what we remember with gardens, and what they remember with us?
Saturday 29 July
9:00 - 10:00 Memory Games. Interactive workshop with memory coach Martina Wilhelmová (optional)
Memory training can improve your quality of life and reduce your dependence on digital media. Inventing mnemonic devices is fun and using them is effective. Become visitors to an alien planet or storytellers, have fun with unusual tasks, play games, try out mnemonics and stimulate your brain to perform better.
10:00 - 11:00 Human Visual Memory and Attention: How We Remember Images. A lecture and workshop with Filip Děchtěrenko
In our daily perception of the world, we have to process information from our surroundings and store it in our memory. Let's talk about how our brain works when we see a new visual sensation, what we focus on and what we remember from it. We will also try out short practical demonstrations.
11:15 - 13:00 Neuromorphism and Scalar Perspectivalism: Leaving Marks for Future Remembering through Becoming A Slug. Memory and movement workshop with Helene Nymann and Joe Dumit
How can we practice the multiplicity of beings that make us up, recognizing experience as the crisscrossing nexus of more than human agency at play? Through slug becoming we play inside ttransversal thoughts and sensoriums that are ecophysiological, we lose ourselves in spatial and temporal scales that open to non-human bodies, and we create maps for the future to remember to remember their becomings. We slow down to the speed of ancestry in the making. This workshop will begin with moving and being moved collectively, beyond the visual, allowing the slug in-between, the shapeshifter, to take over. The second part maps the future through mark making, asking what the future might encounter, to remember to remember. We conclude by folding in together, across the scales of our placetime perspectives, wondering who else we are.
14:30 - 15:30 Unbreeding Memory. A performative participatory lesson with Lucie Rosenfeldová and Kateřina Konvalinová
Lessons from/breeding memory intersects Lucie Rosenfeld's artistic research on bodily memory and Kateřina Konvalina's research practice on the application of non-human perspectives within agricultural practice. Through the perspective and matter of sheep's wool, we will evoke the story inscribed within us.
15:45 - 16:45 Absorb, block, block, absorb, or does my pug love me. Creative writing lecture by Oreet Ashery
Sound is a form of energy. Like memory, it travels from a source, and causes vibrations whenever it hits anything in its path. Soundproofing works to reduce pressure through effects such as absorbing, deflecting and decoupling. Those soundproofing technologies can be imagined as tools for emotional rewiring and trauma healing.
17:00 - 17:40 Sharing session facilitated by Joe Dumit
18:15 - 18:30 Theta. Screening of a short film by Lawrence Lek
Theta (2022, 12', UK) follows a self-driving police car as they confront their existential crisis while patrolling the streets of the abandoned smart city of SimBeijing. Left with nothing to do, but still under constant surveillance, the car discusses their troubles with their built-in therapist - a self-help AI called Guanyin. Not all is as it seems in the smart city. Originally built as a replica of the Chinese capital to test autonomous vehicles, SimBeijing has mysteriously become a ghost town. As Theta gradually opens up to Guanyin, they reveal the darker reasons behind why the city has been abandoned. Theta continues Lawrence Lek's ongoing Sinofuturist universe, in which he explores questions of identity, surveillance, and empathy in the age of AI.
18:30 - 19:30 Human vs Machine Consciousness. A lecture by AI researcher Ivan Sekaj
This talk will briefly introduce Artificial Intelligence (AI), the milestones of its history, present and future. Attention will be paid to the impact of AI on human society, the possible socio-economic impacts of AI, as well as possible additional risks. We will reflect on what human consciousness is and whether consciousness can be acquired by a machine.
Sunday 30 July
10:00 - 11:00 The Loci Method or Build Your Own Memory Palace. Memory training workshop with Petra Hirtlová
People have always wanted to store their experiences, memories, knowledge and learning, to recall and use them. Today, modern technology helps us to do this, while at the same timewe all have the most effective tool at our disposal - our own minds. Meet with mnemonics, which originated with a poet and characters from the Greek mythology that served the great men of ancient Rome and the Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci.
11:00 - 12:00 Forgotten Books. Reading and talking with Martin Zetová
Forgotten Books is a performative reading with a book(s) that have been relegated to "oblivion" by the time of their publication and genre.
12:00 - 12:30 Mayflies are dozing in your hair. A performance by Mercedes Mühleisens
Mühleisens performance lecture pivots around a self-experienced postpartum psychosis. The work connects our time's language and attitudes towards motherhood, and the visionary potential of a psychosis. In addition to using her own experiences in the textual work, she will interweave the voices of female prophets and visionaries, from the Middle Ages until now.
12:30 - 13:30 Transgenerational memory. Discussion with psychologist Vojtěch Juřík
Transgenerational memory, i.e. the transmission of emotional, behavioural and cultural patterns between generations, affects to a greater or lesser extent the psyche, behaviour and identity of each of us. This is not only about the oft-mentioned transmission of trauma and the ways in which it can be treated. The aim of the session will be to outline and discuss forms of transgenerational transmission in the context of contemporary times.
14:30 - 16:00 Lament to the bird mountain who lost its voice. Sound performance by Elin Már Øyen Vister accompanied by closing meditation or daydreaming.
Listening to the external world as well as to the inner desires to create and respond sonically to their surroundings, will be the key to the four-channel concert by Elin Már. The sonic material consists of field recordings and material from the artist's ongoing artistic research project Soundscape Røst (NO/Sábme) and recordings from the local surroundings of Les.Woods and/or responding to the local soundscape.
Oreet Ashery (IL/UK) is a London based visual artist and educator. Their award winning web series Revisiting Genesis (2016) explores digital death, withdrawal, care and artistic legacy. The work combines performers with real life-limiting conditions, alongside fictional characters.
Filip Děchtěrenko (CZ) works as a researcher at the Institute of Psychology of the Academy of Science in Prague and focuses primarily on visual perception with a focus on attention and memory. His research methods include eye movement tracking devices or convolutional neural networks.
Joe Dumit (US) is an anthropologist of passions, performance, brains, games, bodies, drugs and facts at University of California Davis and Aarhus University. He works with neuroscientists, artists, and improvisers in Denmark, Germany, and France on multimedia installations for social learning and togetherness.
Petra Hirtlová (CZ) is a Level III memory trainer, member and lecturer of the Czech Society for Memory Training and Brain Jogging. She also works as a university teacher, conducting courses and workshops in social sciences, cognitive training, effective learning and self-development for all generations.
Vojtěch Juřík (CZ) works as an assistant professor and researcher at the Institute of Psychology at Masaryk University in Brno. Currently, he focuses on experimental research on human cognition using modern technologies, especially virtual reality, and deals with the issue of embodied cognition.
Kateřina Konvalinová (CZ) is an audio-visual artist and performer working in the field of organic farming. In her practice she looks for intersections between contemporary socially engaged art and agriculture, where she emphasises a feminist perspective of care.
Lawrence Lek (DE/GB) is an artist, filmmaker, and musician working in the fields of virtual reality and simulation.
Mercedes Mühleisen (NO) is an Oslo-based artist working primarily with video-installation, text and performance.
Helene Nymann (DK) is a Danish visual artist and artistic researcher. She works with embodied knowledge, memory-systems and future ancestry.
Katrine Elise Agpalza Pedersen (NO) is an art historian and curator based in Trondheim, Norway. She earned her MA in Art History at the University of Oslo (UiO). She holds the position as Curator at Kunsthall Trondheim.
Lucie Rosenfeldová (CZ) lives and works in Prague. Her practice focuses primarily on the medium of experimental documentary video, in which she uses elements of autobiography, while her work on film is accompanied by research.
Cate Sandilands (CA) is a professor of environmental humanities in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University (Toronto, Canada). Her recent work on plants and vegetal relationships includes essays in Ecologies of Gender: Contemporary Nature Relations and the Nonhuman Turn, and Kin: Thinking with Deborah Bird Rose.
Ivan Sekaj (SK) is a professor and researcher in the field of cybernetics and artificial intelligence (AI) at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. He also works on the impact of AI on human society.
Elin Már Øyen Vister (NO) are a multidisciplinary artist, forager, earth/water/animal defender, queer ecologist. Elin Már runs Røst AiR on the island municipality of Røst and the lighthouse island of Skomvær off Lofoten.
Martina Wilhelmová (CZ) is a librarian, memory coach, reader and storyteller from the Orlické Mountains who goes to the forest for inspiration.
Martin Zetová (CZ) is a Czech artist, performer and sculptor. The spectrum of his work includes drawing, photography, video, happening and an author's books.