Since the 1990s, re-enactment has emerged as a key issue in the field of artistic production, in theoretical discourse, and in the socio-political sphere. Current re-enactments question the ability of the present to unpack, embody, and disentangle the past. Thus, to re-enact is to experience the past by reactivating either a particular cultural heritage or unexplored utopias. To re-enact means not to restore but to challenge the past – to not merely repeat it, but to interpret and translate it – in the present and for the present – or for the future. History thereby enters a special temporal dimension, that of a possible and perpetual becoming, opening a space for invention and renewal.
The symposium investigates the issue of re-enactment through a discussion at once conceptual and practical. How, and to what extent, does recent history engage in a creative dialogue with a more distant past supposedly reactualized through re-enactment? This process of creative repetition branches out into at least three directions: (1) the return/survival of the past understood as generating meaning and values for both present and potential future/s, in terms of what one could call a symbolic archaeology; (2) an epistemological-axiological challenge to the traditional dichotomy between true and false, original and copy; and (3) a performative bodily practice that physically re-stages events.
Methodologically, the notion of re-enactment will be approached from three directions: the archive, the arts, and curatorial practice.
Cristina Baldacci, Clio Nicastro, and Arianna Sforzini
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