June 28th – July 5th, 2016
Generously Supported by the Delmas Foundation
The Ghetto of Venice: The Future of Memory in the Digital Age
The ghetto – the stereotype and the iconic image of the Jews who lived there – was and still is today one of the most misunderstood of modern Jewish spaces as well as one of the most powerful symbolic sites. This workshop coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Ghetto of Venice and brings together early career scholars to examine and analyze the ghetto’s long history as a cultural text and visual icon. We will explore the political, economic and social functions that made the ghetto a cultural screen for the articulation and projection of Jewish identity.
The workshop will address the complexity of the Ghetto of Venice as a concrete space and as a global metaphor – tracing the refraction of the Ghetto of Venice across space and time. We hope to bring together representations of the ghetto in art, literature, and photography while embracing the possibilities of digital methodologies. By conceiving of the ghetto as a “memory space that travels” rather than as a static museal site we will open up the constellation of representations in which the Ghetto of Venice is situated in the 21st century and test Walter Benjamin’s algorithm – “The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.
A broad range of questions arises from this new approach to the Ghetto of Venice:
In our digital era is it now possible to place the iconic Ghetto of Venice into a new historical constellation that disrupts the effects of “frozen” museum time?
What is gained from this new comparative approach given the diversity of modern Jewish experience?
How has the Ghetto of Venice become a global metaphor?
How can the Ghetto of Venice be conceived as a dynamic space rather than a static archive?
What is the relationship of the sequestered space of the ghetto and the larger urban fabric to which it belongs?
How has and how might imagery of the ghetto change alongside developments in technology (photography, digital archives, print literature, and 3D modeling)?
Conference Coordinators: Erica Smeltzer and Katie Trostel
Details: The conference will convene in Venice, Italy on June 28th, 2016. Approximately twelve early career scholars will be selected. Participants will be expected to attend activities through July 1st. July 3rd-5th we will give 20 minute public presentations of our workshopped projects.
If selected, participants will be expected to read and reflect upon a shared bibliography. These texts will provide a common foundation, and will prompt lively discussions during our time in Venice. Participants selected for the workshop will be expected to revise their projects based on the feedback they receive into an essay suitable for publication in a collected volume.
What is the function of the Ghetto of Venice in the 21st century? How does the site function as a museum, an archive, or as a living space?
What are the representational opportunities of using the ghetto as an object or space of inquiry?
We envision the insular space of the ghetto as both a static space and a space that moves. How is this compelling or troubling?
How does your project engage with the following categories: digital mapping, photography, gender, the future of memory?
For more information: www.beitvenezia.org