Landsberg Contributes to Exhibit at Stroom Den Haag, Netherlands

Alison Landsberg, faculty member in the Departments of History and Art History, and Cultural Studies, has written a featured essay in the exhibition brochure for “Back-up,” at Stroom Den Haag, the Netherlands, which presents the work Jan Rosseel, an award-winning and internationally published photographer and visual storyteller.

Rosseel’s work in “Back-up” is based upon his exploration of the relationship between memory, image, and imagination. Landsberg’s books, Prosthetic Memory: The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture and Engaging the Past, were important sources of inspiration for Rosseel, and her contribution to the exhibition materials offer background and context for his work. 

Landsberg’s essay discusses the characteristics of history and memory, and how lines between the two are blurred in the current era of mass culture. In light of widely available media coverage of historical public events, she explains, people take on privately-felt public memories. These “prosthetic memories,” although enabled by the individual’s engagement with the broadcast image (of a photograph, for example, or a visual account), are embodied, visceral, and can powerfully shape that individual’s identity and politics. 

Rosseel’s exhibition considers memory in relationship to power, politics, history, and future. Through February 2018, he will continue to produce new work to develop the body of the presentation.