June 13, 2019

Vera Mevorah From Representation to Communication: Holocaust Today

Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, 4th floor at 14 h

Thriving of scientific knowledge about the Holocaust is accompanied today by an even greater production of information both from inside and outside of academia. The famous sentence by Theodor Adorno that „to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric” has not, like its author directed, stopped the wave of uncritical production of discourses and representations about the Holocaust. But it did bring critical reevaluation of media ecology – both in the sense of the media environment that Holocaust narratives create today and regarding characteristics of the media we use to represent the Holocaust (McLuhan). This approach opened first questions about the veracity of seeing Holocaust primarily through the lens of the mechanisms of its execution (archives/historiography); questions about the appropriateness and possibility of artistic media to express the layeredness of this phenomenon; but also the question of who speaks and what is being said when we talk about the Shoah. The “loss of aura” (Banjamin) which applies to reproduction of historical facts as much as to its artifacts intensifies the debate about the proper representation of the Holocaust and its purposes. In this race between attempts to understand, explain and direct knowledge and uncritical and insufficiently controlled production of new discourses, the winner is already called for. In this lecture, aside from showcasing and analyzing examples of the Holocaust media universe, we will also touch upon a specific question: Is it perhaps time to stop talking only about representing and start talking about communicating the Holocaust?

Vera Mevorah (1987) holds a PhD in Art and Media Theory and works as independent Research Associate in the field of cultural studies in Belgrade, Serbia. Her PhD thesis is a pioneer study on Internet and Art in Serbia. She has been active for over 15 years as an informal Jewish educator. She is an associate of NGOs Haver Srbija, Center for Holocaust Research and Education and Terraforming Network Novi Sad – Amsterdam – Stockholm. She is a co-editor of the book Markers of Memory: Jewish Heritage and the Holocaust, a collection of scientific and expert papers published by Jewish Historical Museum in Belgrade and co-author of the Teachers Handbook: Portraits and Memories of the Jewish Community Before the Holocaust published by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia. Her research field include cultural studies, media studies, Internet, Holocaust studies, digital humanities, new musicology and art theory.

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