MISSING IMAGES: Textures of Memory in Diaspora
The lecture discussed the relationship between images and memory in the context of diaspora. In particular, it explored the meaning of (filmic) images for remembering the genocide and thereby consolidating the Armenian (Western) diaspora. Because there are few graphic images of this violent history and because those that do exist are not circulated in the public visual sphere, Baronian looked at various filmic strategies that not only compensate this lack of representation, but also more profoundly interrogate the very status of images for diasporic communities in today’s visual culture. Some contemporary filmmakers and visual artists—such as Atom Egoyan, Gariné Torossian, and Mekhitar Garabedian—challenge at once the aesthetic qualities of images and their crucial role in constructing memory. Baronian reflected upon the “aesthetics of displacement” that characterize their visual enterprise as an obsessive, repetitive yet lacunary necessity for connecting the past in a tangible here and now.
Marie-Aude Baronian was the 2014 Manoogian Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan and is an associate professor in film and visual culture at the University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on various topics such as Armenian diasporic visual culture, ethics and aesthetics, French thought, archive, and memory. She has specifically worked on the representation of the Armenian genocide in the works of contemporary visual artists such as Atom Egoyan, Gariné Torossian and Mekhitar Garabedian. Her most recent books are Mémoire et Image. Regards sur la Catastrophe arménienne (2013) and Cinéma et Mémoire. Sur Atom Egoyan (2013).