HomeThe italian fascism through the prism of contemporary arts

The italian fascism through the prism of contemporary arts

Le fascisme italien au prisme des arts contemporains

Il fascismo italiano nel prisma delle arti contemporanee

Reinterpretations, montages, deconstructions

Réinterprétations, montages, déconstructions

Reinterpretazioni, montaggi, decostruzioni

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Published on Thursday, November 23, 2017 by Anastasia Giardinelli

Summary

 

In a more or less explicit way, daily news bring to our attention the survival of forms and values which rely on fascist imagery. Thinking about fascism through the prism of contemporary arts means to deal with a term whose significance has to be read at least in a double sense: on one hand, the historical experience of the regime that ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943; on the other hand, by extension, the very form of totalitarian power. Contemporary arts’ gaze seems to work on these two different albeit related topics: the Italian fascism as historical event (faced with all the troubles of its memories), and the fascism as the fundamental process of power’s relationship and rituals.

 

Announcement

Presentation

The memory of the fascist regime has never disappeared from the postwar art scene. Problems, topics and figures that marked that period of Italian history are visible in the oeuvre by different artists working with different media, whether as a sporadic occurrence or as a main topic.

In a more or less explicit way, daily news bring to our attention the survival of forms and values which rely on fascist imagery. Thinking about fascism through the prism of contemporary arts means to deal with a term whose significance has to be read at least in a double sense: on one hand, the historical experience of the regime that ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943; on the other hand, by extension, the very form of totalitarian power. Contemporary arts’ gaze seems to work on these two different albeit related topics: the Italian fascism as historical event (faced with all the troubles of its memories), and the fascism as the fundamental process of power’s relationship and rituals.

Based on a cooperation between the Università Roma Tre (Rome) and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), the conference is part of an analytical path set up in October 2016 at the EHESS with the seminar Le regard des arts contemporains sur le fascisme italien. Réinterprétations, remontages, déconstructions (artscontemporainsfascisme.wordpress.com). The conference aims to investigate the ability showed by specific artistic objects to work in a punctual and precise manner on the depth of Ventennio’s memory. This kind of work is necessarily intertwined with an inquiry into the different compositional strategies through which contemporary arts have set up a series of operations:  reinterpretation, re-montage and critical deconstruction have proved to be the useful tools to examine value systems, iconographies and, more broadly, fascist imagery.

A first historical mapping has already started with the proceedings of the conference Mémoires du Ventennio. Représentations et enjeux mémoriels du régime fasciste de 1945 à aujourd’hui (edited by Emilia Héry, Caroline Pane and Claudio Pirisino, in print). This new conference aims to develop a research with a strong analytical feature, by studying exemplary works produced since the end of World War II and concerning Italian fascism. Moreover, works of art’s temporal depth and semantic density will allow to question the discourses on fascism produced by the different scientific disciplines. From the case studies’ figurative and figural dimensions, it will be possible to unravel the relationships between fictional and historical narratives, in the light of historical and philosophical literature (see, for instance, Walter Benjamin and, more recently, Michel de Certeau or Paul Ricoeur).

All forms of artistic expression are summoned up by this reflection: from visual arts to cinema, from theatre to literature, from music to architecture. In front of such a wide range, proposals should focus on the work of art, nonetheless considered in its dimension of  “theoretical object” (see Louis Marin, Omar Calabrese, Hubert Damisch), as a starting point for a theoretical and critical way on the fascist Ventennio’s traumatic memory. A thorough analysis of singles works will allow us to look at an extremely complex phenomenon with an oblique glance, engendering figural relationships in a possible comparison with other works and channeling philosophical, historical and political thoughts. Disciplinary languages and interdisciplinarity’s usefulness will be inevitably put in question by scholars working in different academic disciplines.

Topic Proposals

Possible topics for proposals might include, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • How artistic languages (as in single works) address the memory of a traumatic period in decades of extraordinary technical and formal experimentation?
  • How Walter Benjamin’s idea of the “aestheticization of politics” unfolds in thematic scopes as different as theatricality, ritualization, “élan vital”? 
  • Which allegories (again, in a benjaminian sense), and which particularly crucial images can we detect in fascist artistic development?
  • Which aesthetic forms work better so that Ventennio’s archival images, monuments and cultural objects could assume a critical sense in the present?
  • How the montage allows to study the temporal complexity of images and objects?
  • Where is the place of the witness in the past’s re-elaboration, and how to represent it?
  • How contemporary arts have dealt with an idea of fascism, on the one hand, as a certain historical period and, on the other, as a trans-historical political and cultural paradigm?

Submission Guidelines

Proposals should be sent via email to elisa.francesconi@uniroma3.it

by December 18, 2017

They should include:

  • an abstract (max 2000 signs) clearly defining the case study and the theoretical questions;
  • a short cv (max 1000 signs).
Department of “Studi Umanistici”, University of Roma Tre, Rome, 5-6 April 2018

The conference languages are: Italian, French, English.

The scientific committee will notify the applicants by January 15, 2018.

Scientific Committee

  • Luca Acquarelli (Université Lille III / EHESS)
  • Elisa Francesconi (Università Roma Tre)
  • Laura Iamurri (Università Roma Tre)
  • Francesco Zucconi (EHESS)

Places

  • DIPARTIMENTO DI STUDI UMANISTICI - UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI ROMA TRE - via Ostiense 234
    Rome, Italian Republic (00146)

Date(s)

  • Monday, December 18, 2017

Keywords

  • fascisme italien, représentations du fascisme en époque contemporaine, mémoire, arts contemporains, cinéma, littérature, théâtre

Contact(s)

  • Elisa Francesconi
    courriel : elisa [dot] francesconi [at] uniroma3 [dot] it

Information source

  • Luca Acquarelli
    courriel : luca [dot] acquarelli [at] univ-lille3 [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« The italian fascism through the prism of contemporary arts », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, November 23, 2017, https://calenda.org/424283

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