Collective Amnesia at Fundació Joan Miró

The smile of a tear, Joan Miro, 1973

The smile of a tear, Joan Miro, 1973

An international symposium and a workshop about the forgotten shanty towns on Montjuïc opened a space of discussion on the subject of memorials from the perspective of art and contemporary thought.

With Collective Amnesia, it was explored the backside of a key concept of historiography in the last decades, namely “collective memory”, as formulated by Maurice Halbwachs. The “collective amnesia” can be considered to correspond to a formation that is generated in the wake of commemorations and memorials that declare themselves “official.” From Halbwachs’ perspective forgetting, like remembering, is a collective act. According to recent developments in the philosophy of history and contemporary thought, everything that is omitted from the past reveals much more about a given culture than what it registers as history and promotes as collective memory.

Via Favència municipal warehouse, Barcelona, 2011. Photo: Llibert Teixidó. © Llibert Teixidó / La Vanguardia.

Via Favència municipal warehouse, Barcelona, 2011. Photo: Llibert Teixidó. © Llibert Teixidó / La Vanguardia.

Collective Amnesia is conceived as a space for discussion around the intersections that occur between artistic practice and historiography. With the symposium and the workshop, Fundació Miró offered opportunities to debate and collaborate with agents who come from different cultural sectors involved in experimental processes of knowledge production.

The symposium included the participation of experts coming from the fields of artistic practice, historiography and contemporary thought. The workshop, in turn, was focused on the Montjuïc slums, a specific case study directly linked with the site on which the Fundació Joan Miró sits. It is a side of things that the city of Barcelona has tried to forget even though they grew in the wake of what has been championed as the launching platform of urban development in 20th-century Barcelona: the hill of Montjuïc. For the workshop, Fundació Miró counts on the collaboration of a number of groups and organizations from Barcelona that are working on the recovery of the memory of this urban phenomenon.

International symposium:

Debate on Contemporary Memorial Culture

July 8 and 9, 4–8:30pm

Fundació Joan Miró’s Library


Miriam Basilio, Associate Professor of Art History and Museum Studies, NYU

Azul Blaseotto, visual artist, (La Dársena Platform) Buenos Aires

Oriol Fontdevila, curator and art critic

María Ruido, visual artist, researcher and cultural producer

Octavi Rofes, anthropologist, professor and Vice President of EINA, Barcelona

Joan Roca, historian and geographer; President of the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat de Barcelona (MUHBA)

Francisco Rubio, art mediator

Enzo Traverso, S. B. Winokur Professor in the Humanities, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Workshop in Montjuïc:

Exploring the Informal City

July 9–11, 10am–2pm

Fundació Joan Miró’s Espai Taller

Public Presentation of the workshop’s conclusions:

July 11, 6pm

Plaça del Mig, Can Clos (Barcelona)

With the collaboration of the Centre d’Estudis de Montjuïc, Lúa Coderch, Antonio Gagliano, Valeria Giacomoni, Grupo por el Cambio (Can Clos), Oriol Granados, Imma Jansana, Lola Lasurt, Taller de ficció, Mercè Tatjer, among others.

Joan Miro logoCollective Amnesia is a collaborative project between the Fundació Joan Miró and Tricentenari BCN. It is part of Preventive Archaeology, an exhibition program at Espai 13, the Fundació’s project room for emerging artists.

Coordinated by Oriol Fontdevila and La Fundació

More information can be found at

Attendance earns you one credit hour of an official degree from the UB (Universitat de Barcelona) and UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).

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