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Reimagining Memory Art through Social Monuments

Reimagining Memory Art through Social Monuments #2 is a part of the Series of Public Events The Destiny of Our Collective PastA collaboration with the Public Art Agency in Sweden, the Embassy of Sweden in Moscow and the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art.

Who commissions and creates monuments and why, and what future awaits them? 

This webinar focuses on the stories behind monuments, as well as the role of artists and commissioners of public art, in creating performative and social monuments for narratives less exposed, grand, or wanted.  The artistic works introduced as part of the programme consider ways of reimagining the role of memorial art and monuments – to visualise how they can negotiate and influence experiences of sites, histories, politics, and values. They open for lived and shared experiences as part of the works by enacting remembrance – and hence creating new collective memories. The examples draw from fully followed out projects, process-based work, and still unrealized concepts. Presentations by artists Malin Arnell & Åsa Elzén, Behzad Noori and Runo Lagomarsino. The work by Public Art Agency Sweden is presented by its director Patrick Amsellem and head of public programmes Annika Enqvist. The webinar is introduced with a lecture by theorist Rebecka Katz Thor, who is also moderating the event.

Register for participation

The meeting happens on ZOOM; the meeting language is English, simultaneous translation to Russian is provided.

To participate, please pre-register here


  1. Welcome address Maria Lind, counsellor of culture at the Embassy of Sweden in Moscow and Alisa Prudnikova, commissioner, and artistic director of the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art.
  2. Introduction by Rebecka Katz Thor
  3. Presentations followed by short Q&A: s
    – Public Art Agency Sweden, Patrick Amsellem & Annika Enqvist
    Behzad Khosravi Noori On Top of the Mountain, 2015–ongoing
    Malin Arnell and Åsa Elzén Forest Calling – A Never-ending Contaminated Collaboration or Dancing is a Form of Forest Knowledge. (2018–2020/2069– ongoing)
    Runo Lagomarsino Geography of Haunted Places, 2020
  4. Summary and reflection

Contributors and bios

More about our CONTRIBUTORS at the webinar.

PATRICK AMSELLEM is the director of Public Art Agency Sweden. He was previously the director of Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art, in Lund, Sweden, and Associate Curator of Photography at the Brooklyn Museum, New York. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in art history and architectural history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. His research has focused on memory culture, memorials, and monuments after World War II.

Interdisciplinary artist, researcher, and educator MALIN ARNELL, PhD, is a frequent collaborator. Through these collaborative practices, Arnell works with key issues for participating in social domains by emphasising the porous intimacy between environments and actions. In doing so, Arnell focuses on the experiences around/in/through/of the body by incorporating the affectivity between relationalities, territories, and force.

ÅSA ELZÉN is an artist who lives and works in Näshulta, in the region of Sörmland, Sweden. Elzén’s practice is transdisciplinary, and she works with the concept of ”the fallow” as artistic methodology and ethical standpoint as well as in relation to temporality, memory, environmental destruction, and queer feminist- and more-than-human historiography. For some time, she has been focusing on the legacy of the Fogelstad Group and their practice in relation to ecology and resilience.

FOREST CALLING – A Never-ending Contaminated Collaboration or Dancing is a Form of Forest Knowledge
For the next 50 years until 2069, the artist duo Arnell and Elzén has leased a 3.7-hectare triangular piece of forest land on Fogelstad Estate’s land in the Municipality of Katrineholm, Sweden. This forest land has a strong historical connection to the well-known feminist and peace group, the Fogelstad Group, which was established in Sweden in 1921. With their project, Arnell and Elzén want to explore the artistic and legal potential of taking a patch of forest land out of production, with the aim of securing its survival in an infinite future. The work can be seen as a tribute to the Fogelstad Group’s activities, as well as an act of resistance against the exploitation of forests in the Anthropocene age. The project Forest Calling has been developed as one of twelve awarded projects within the Public Art Agency Sweden’s nationwide open call Lokala konstprojekt, in which locally engaged art projects, initiated by artists or art organisations were invited to apply for co-funding and collaboration with PAA on mutual knowledge development (2018–2020).

ANNIKA ENQVIST is a curator and Head of Public Programmes at the Public Art Agency (2018–). At PAA her role contains building a new line of public programmes and mediation of public art, in relation to current societal and cultural issues – providing opportunities for mutual learning, and a broad dissemination of knowledge around public art. Last year she launched new formats for research calls within the expanded field of public art and explored new ways of commissioning digital artistic features. She is currently curating What does a park do? – a series of public art projects in collaboration with Folkets Hus och Parker, a century old grassroot organisation. Enqvist regularly lectures at universities, and contributes to publications, for e.g., Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice – Materialism, Activisms, Dialogues, Pedagogies, Projections, AADR/Spurbuchverlag (2017). She is a co-founder of S L A M crafts collective and has a MA in Critical Writing and Curatorial Practice from Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. Previously curator at Iaspis (2010–2018) curator of touring exhibitions at Svensk Form (2000–2007), and a founding member of the curatorial, artistic, and spatial practice The New Beauty Council (2007–2017).

REBECKA KATZ THOR is a researcher and writer. She holds PhD in Aesthetics from Södertörn University, Sweden. Her research interests are processes of commemoration, monuments and memorials and image-productions and its relation to political, historical, and ethical claims, as well as contemporary art and the relation between theory and practice. During 2021–2023 she works with a research project entitled Remember us To Life – Vulnerable Memories in a Prospective Monument, Memorial and Museum following three ongoing commemorative projects in Sweden. Her dissertation Beyond the Witness – Holocaust Representation and the Testimony of Imagesinvestigates the image-as-witness in three films made of archival materials. She is active as a critic, writer, lecturer and teacher in aesthetics and art theory. She has an MA from the New School for Social Research, New York and was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht.

RUNO LAGOMARSINO is an artist who lives and works in Malmö, Sweden. Language, geography, and historiography are themes that Lagomarsino revisits in his artistic practice, using materials that often evoke memories or a relationship to something, only to ask us to reflect on the conditions enabling these connections. Lagomarsino’s work points towards the gaps and cracks in our explanation models highlighting language’s precarious foundation. With precise and poetic displacements, he constructs frictions, fractures of blind spots from where to tell other stories. Recent solo exhibitions include I am also smoke, Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm 2020, The Faculty of Seeing, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2019), We are each other’s air, Francesca Minini, Milano, (2019), EntreMundos, Dallas Museum of Art Dallas, (2018) La Neblina, Galeria Avenida da India, Lisbon (2018). Selected group exhibitions: Deep Sounding, daadgalerie, Berlin (2019), BRAZIL: Knife in the Flesh, PAC, Milan (2018), A Universal History of Infamy, LACMA, Los Angeles, (2017), La Terra Inquieta, Fondazione Trussardi, Milano (2017), Really Useful Knowledge, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2014) and Under the Same Sun, Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014). He has also participated in, Prospect 4, New Orleans, (2017), The 56th Venice Biennale (2015), The 30th São Paulo Biennial (2012), Liverpool Biennial (2012), 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011) and the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008). In 2019, Runo Lagomarsino was Daad artist-in-residence in Berlin.

MARIA LIND is a curator, writer, and educator from Stockholm. She is currently serving as the counsellor of culture at the embassy of Sweden, Moscow. She was the director of Stockholm’s Tensta konsthall 2011–18, the artistic director of the 11th Gwangju Biennale, the director of the graduate program, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (2008–2010) and director of Iaspis in Stockholm (2005–2007). From 2002–2004 she was the director of Kunstverein München and in 1998, co-curator of Europe’s itinerant biennial, Manifesta 2 in Luxembourg. In 2015 she curated Future Light for the first Vienna Biennial, and in 2019 she co-curated the Art Encounters Biennial in Timisoara. She has taught widely since the early 1990s, including as professor of artistic research at the Art Academy in Oslo 2015–18. Currently she is a lecturer at Konstfack’s CuratorLab. She has contributed widely to newspapers, magazines, catalogues, and other publications. She is the 2009 recipient of the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement. In 2010 Selected Maria Lind Writing was published by Sternberg Press, and Seven Years: The Rematerialization Art from 2011 to 2017 appeared in the fall of 2019.

BEHZAD NOORI is an artist, writer, educator, playgrounder and necromancer. He was born and raised in Iran, now working, and living in Stockholm and currently writing a doctoral thesis at Konstfack, Stockholm. In his practice he reflects upon different modes of exhibition making and artistic research practices. He is interested in marginalia of artistic explorations in relation to art, history of trasnationalism, and global politics. Combining fragments of histories, his artistic investigation proposes a bricolage of things, events, and narratives. His practice comprises artistic production and, more essentially, a process based on acts of itinerancy that constitute the art and brings these procedures to light.
 The exhibitions themselves embody a hybrid approach, an expression that portrays multiple combinations and interpretations of various art genres and subject matters. By their very nature, the works present multiplicities of materials, which in their collection into an exhibition amount to a sort of cabinet of curiosities. His research-based practice includes films, installations, as well as archival studies. Khosravi Noori neither sticks to one method of artistic investigation, nor focuses on a single medium. Instead, he aims to reconnoiter the possibilities that inhere an artistic survey. Khosravi Noori’s works has been shown at Kalmar Museum, Malmö art Museum, Timișoara Biennale, Tensta Konsthall, Venice Biennale, HDLU Zagreb, WHW Zagreb, Botkyrka Konsthall, CFF (Centre of Photography, Stockholm), Marabouparken, Centre of Contemporary art, Riga, among other venues.

ALISA PRUDNIKOVA is the creator, commissioner and artistic director of the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art. Alisa is also the Head of the Special Regional Projects at the Pushkin Museum of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Alisa Prudnikova previously led the Ural Branch of the NCCA (2005–2016), was the director of the New Art foundation, which supported regional projects in contemporary art (2013-2016). Alisa Prudnikova has lectured at the Department of Art History and Cultural Studies of the Ural Federal University, curated numerous exhibitions in Russia and abroad. From 2002 to 2008 she was the editor-in-chief of the ZA ART – Arts and Culture magazine devoted to putting local cultural and art scenes in an international analytical context. She served as an expert (2006–2008, 2011–2013, 2018) and a juror (2009) of the Innovation award, which became the first Russian national prize in contemporary art. She is the recipient of the Silver Archer Ural Award (2014, 2015) and the Caryatid Award (2013), and the winner of the Innovation in 2015 and 2018. Alisa Prudnikova has worked to promote strategies for regional development through contemporary art practices at the Advisory Board for the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation (2013–2016). Alisa Prudnikovais a board member of the International Biennial Association (IBA).

VLADIMIR SELEZNYOV is a curator of the Artist in Residency Program of the Ural Industrial Biennial. He is a Russian contemporary artist and curator whose projects deal with themes of the local, place memory, and regional identity. As a curator, he often collaborates with non-professional artists and people who are not artists. His primary media are painting, installation, and video art. Seleznyov was the winner of the Innovation Prize for Best Work of Visual Art and the Sergey Kuryokhin Prize for Best Curatorial Project in 2019. His work can be found in the collections of the Nizhniy Tagil Museum of Fine Arts, the National Center for Contemporary Arts (Moscow branch), the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (PERMM), and the Stadtgalerie Kiel.

The Destiny of Our Collective Past

The Destiny of Our Collective Past, is a series of events on memory politics, civic involvement in history-making, and participatory monuments organised online and offline in the Ural region throughout 2021. Following the Stockholm-based artist Behzad Khosravi Noori’s research interests, and the curatorial focus of the artist-in residency program of the 6th Ural Biennial in which he participates, this program brings together artists, art historians and philosophers who work with the notions of destiny, ‘places of memory’ and claim for the rights to the history of the place.

The Destiny of Our Collective Past

  1. Thursday 15 April: Seminar online and offline in Asbest by Behzad Noori “Brieftopia”: A Monument to the Unknown Citizen. A Playground as a Possible Future of Social Monuments
  2. Friday 7 May: Webinar Reimagining Memory Art through Social Monuments with Public Art Agency Sweden
  3. June (dates TBC): reading group by Behzad Khosravi Noori
  4. Thursday 28 October: Seminar online and offline in Yekaterinburg


Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art

Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art is the largest international project in the field of contemporary art in the Russian Federation. It was first organized in 2010 at the initiative of the Ural branch of the National Center for Contemporary Art and is held in Ekaterinburg and other Ural region cities. This Biennial works with the industrial specifics of the region and explores industriality as historical heritage and a current practice, which involves many people and spaces. Using contemporary art as a vehicle, the project analyzes current changes around the world and integrates the region into the global artistic context. The Ural Biennial actively works not only with sites that are monuments of industrial culture, but also with operational factories. Exhibition projects as well as an artist-in-residence program are held on factory sites, which offers artists a unique interaction with industrial manufacturing in the Ural region. Due to its focus on always finding new perspectives to understand the phenomenon of industriality, the Biennial itself becomes a kind of industry — an industry of meanings.