Research Seminar for Mediated Culture and Information: Friederike Landau-Donnelly (Radboud University), Mediating (In)Tangible Culture – Following Ghostly Heritage in Vancouver
In this research seminar, I trace the ghostly implications of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage – I set out to follow multiple ghosts of long-gone pasts and those that are not so long ago, wanting to encounter their stories of joy, celebration and cultural expression as well as their ailings of pain, trauma and marginalization. I reach out to those histories and herstories of people, places and things that have been invited to appear in urban public space (e.g., in the form of museums, public art and memorials), but also those that have appeared unsolicitedly (e.g., street art, graffiti, temporary interventions). I look at recently commissioned public art pieces in the adjacent neighborhoods of Chinatown and Hogan’s Alley, the former of which is also known as the East End, in Vancouver, BC, Canada, located on the traditional lands of the First Nations of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh. On these contested grounds, historical conflicts about spatial displacement, belonging and discrimination persist, yet unfold differently in the face of contemporary activism for affordable housing, local business vitality and cultural reconciliation. Accordingly, I examine how public art can mediate conflicts about cultural heritage in its broadest sense of the term. By pulling together concepts from critical museum studies, performative memory studies and hauntological conceptions of both time and space, I develop the notion of ghostly heritage. Such heritage holds space for the conflictual narrations of both pasts and presents instead of suppressing them. Ultimately, ghostly heritage hopes to spare a dance with the ghosts that inhabit urban space, filled (or not) with culture, looking to a horizon of manifold possibilities for the inter-generational and inter-cultural celebration of difference.
About the event:
Location: LUX C436