‘As Much About Forgetting’ Symposium – Saturday 03 November 2018

Banner image for 'AS MUCH ABOUT FORGETTING' - an exhibition at Viborg Kunsthal, also featuring logo of Viborg Kunsthal


Viborg Kunsthal, Denmark
Saturday 03 November, 11AM – 5PM

Contemporary art is absorbed by the past, maybe like never before, at least not in the same way. Historical references abound, ranging from aesthetic quotes from art history to formal experiments and performative re-enactments, to the unfolding, revealing and reinterpreting of cultural-historical archival phenomena. The passage of time gives us both history and memory, and yet tensions exist between these two. Is what we remember what actually happened, and is history factual or an interpretation, subject to revision and change? Is it possible to reclaim, re-enact or recall our pasts as imperfect and to sanction a space for forgetting as a means to create a future tense – to free ourselves from weights.

We live in a time of quantitative data collection through proliferating social media platforms with their accompanying server farms. Here everything can be logged, tagged and stored – a potential archive for all eternity. We know that we want to be seen as ourselves, or the selves we want to be, however these dynamics also speak to and through illusions and other drives, of wanting to hold, mine and to make tangible in the ether.

Illustration by Andy Schmidt

Illustration by Andy Schmidt

The aim of our symposium is to run in another direction and explore the potential of forgetting. This is not about simple binaries, we all know the importance of remembering but what is the significance for forgetting on a historical, social, structural and artistic level? Our trajectory is to move beyond positives and negatives and to stride into a richer field where the possibilities of forgetting are approached, as if peering at an unfurling hand.

For a day, let us explore what might be brought into play through acts or the act of forgetting. Let us discuss modes of erasure and removal; of fiction and myth and consumption; as we try to pop forgetting into our mouths, to see how it tastes. Why not consider forgetting as a molecular cocktail of dark matter and celebrate its potential as a formula? We could take this by examples – art, film and architecture, to examine the kinks and quirks that might constitute the history of forgetting.

The symposium features a series of presentations, seminars and performances. Download a flyer here.


Sarah Kolb, Department of Art History and Art Theory, University Art & Industrial Design Linz (AU)

– ‘Where I forget myself, consent will do.’ Dizziness as metaphysical challenge and creative resource.  

David Toop, musician, author and Professor of Audio Culture and Improvisation, London College of Communication (UK)
– Performance: Acetylene Snares.

Jacob Wamberg, Professor, School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University (DK

– Unmarrying Things: Epoché as a pervasive strategy for avant-garde art

Simon Lewandowski artist, Associate professor, Leeds University (UK)

– Remembering Backwards and Forgetting in Anticipation.

The exhibition AS MUCH ABOUT FORGETTING is curated by TC McCormack, Michelle Atherton & Jette Gejl.

Read more about the exhibition here.