Monumental Strategies of (Sub)urban Riots is a project initiated by fellows Gal Kirn and Niloufar Tajeri, which focuses on the phenomenon of (sub)urban riots in the West, such as those that took place in London, Los Angeles and Paris in recent decades. Even if these riots had a short durability, they rendered visible major aspects of everyday urban life: economic deprivation, political exclusion, forms of racism, and police violence. Despite their importance of making visible the marginalized groups and extremely negative structural dynamics, they simultaneously triggered a brutal police repression, media demonization and criminalization. Thus, before riots could even become a point of departure for a broader social discourse addressing the underlying issues, they dissappear, or are remembered negatively. This is why the project wants to re-frame and re-articulate the demonized image and precarious existence of riots not only by an understanding of their deeper causes, but also by connecting them to the field of monumental practices. Is there any way to commemorate riots? By taking a closer look at a number of concepts of monumental and memorial strategies of the twentieth century that attempted to either narrate or represent new political topics and groups that were »invisible« or marginalized, the aesthetics of the monument becomes less »monumental,« less stable, less controlled. Instead it turns plural, precarious, participatory: Rather than thinking about the monument as a core to the formation of »collective memory,« which has a sovereign control over the past, this project invites the participants to consider a series of monumental strategies to narrate, represent, and work through something as precarious as the riot: a dissensual monument to dissent.
The workshop Monumental Strategies of (Sub)urban Riots is held in continuation of the exhibition Thinking a Monument to the Sub/Urban Riot,1conceptualized by Gal Kirn and Niloufar Tajeri that was at display in January 2016 at Akademie Schloss Solitude. The event will bring together a number of political theorists, activists, architects and artists, who will reflect upon and elaborate initial thoughts to the »monument to (sub)urban riots«. The evening will be accompanied by a book launch of Joshua Clover’s new publication Riot.Strike.Riot: The New Era of Uprisings2 (Verso, 2016), a theorization of the »age of riots« as the struggle of people versus state and capital.
Please register until September 5, 2016 via e-mail to Luzi Gross, lg at akademie-solitude.de