3 Exercises in Consciousness

re | staging commemorative Art practice in Public space

Merete Røstad, Research Fellow at Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Dept of Art and Craft

3 Exercises in Consciousness investigates collective memory and commemoration through artistic research and practice in public sphere. Furthermore the research examines how commemoration and memory transform into works of Art. A relationship between consciousness and memory is crucial to our sense of self, community and society.

«3 Exercises in Consciousness» intends to expand the understanding of memory by exploring it as an embodiment of sensorial practice and as a social phenomenon. Memory resides in our every day rituals and social relationships as well in memorials and commemoration. Accordingly as a part of my investigation I will be looking into the effect of tragedy and collective memory through Art making and our everyday experiences as witnesses in public space.

Memory matters – not only for scientists but also for artists and the public alike. The more we discover within the field of memory and commemoration the more we understand of our self and our place within the world. My research will contribute to create a platform in a field that has been overlooked in Norwegian artistic research discourse. As man-made and natural traumatic events are taking place (example the events 22nd July, 11th September, tsunamis) Norway now finds itself in a situation where commemorative art practice not only relates to events in the past but the very present. Therefore the importance of research on conscious and ethical art practice dealing with collective memory as well as trauma is imminent. For an artist working in public space, the field opens for not only ethical but also fundamental issues of the role of the artist in such processes. I will attempt an investigation into the realms of the imaginary of commemoration and memory engaging with community and opening for interdisciplinary dialogue in public space. The research will feature my findings combined with historical and found material translated into new strategies of commemorative art practice. As my point of departure I will be using various media, e.g. projection, light, sculpture and found objects.

BIO Merete Røstad
Working with sculpture, installation and intervention. My practice concerns the perception of our everyday exchange and experiences within our surroundings, one aspect of this being how we read the traces left behind. Frequently engaging within public space and communities, my process-based practice has developed out of a rigorous interdisciplinary practice in both, my academic and professional, life in Norway, England and Germany. This has included an ongoing commitment to explore the potential of spatial and temporal constructs as a catalyst for engaging with history, identity and memory. In 2007, I completed my Master Fine Arts at the Public Art and New Artistic Strategies program, Bauhaus University (Weimar, Germany) and a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), Liverpool (UK).