CREATIVE TIME: Sarah Cowan


On October 12, the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley and the Curatorial Practice at the California College of the Arts are partnering to host a live-streaming of the Creative Time Summit, an annual conference in New York that brings together cultural producers–including artists, critics, writers, and curators–to discuss how their work engages pressing issues affecting our world. To jump-start the conversation in advance of the event, attendees have been asked to submit a paragraph on a keyword associated with one of the summit themes: Inequities, Occupations, Making, or Tactics. This posting is by Sarah Cowan, PhD Candidate in History of Art at UC Berkeley.
 
Keyword: Memory
 
With the one year anniversary of the birth of the Occupy Movement this fall, I have been contemplating how the movement’s legacy will continue to grow and how its memory will eventually come to be passed down to the next generation of activists that follow. Our daily lives, increasingly subject to the recording and archiving of our own doing and of an established global network of media forces, newspapers, blogs, television, become ostensibly ripe with the promise of memory — a memory that knows bytes, a memory that is spontaneous and prosthetic to these daily lives. It seems to be no accident that the most characteristic form of the Occupy Movement laid bare the daily goings-on of the activist and the activist body in an extreme form; as if to say, mediatize¬†this. But this rhetorical gesture belies a real threat. What do we remember from a year ago? This memory serves as our foundation for continuing the work of last fall. It contains the kernel of the movement’s reason and force. Without it, must we be constantly reinventing the movement and our involvement in it? Is this progress?