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Representing the Past in Media and Art

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"Representing the Past in Media and Art" was a theory and production course held in two sections at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 2006 that looked at general questions of what is at stake when we represent past events here and now. The course sought to ask if we need to look back in order to move forward, can the past be separated from the present, or does it constitute our present moment? The overall goal was to investigate the capacity of art and moving images to express historical memory. Students in both sections of the course attended a shared weekly screening of work by artists and filmmakers where I also presented my own film and photographic work, focusing on the methodologies I have employed. Students who enrolled in the theory seminar focused on recent debates in the discipline of history, utilizing close textual readings to analyze the current role of historiography and historicism within visual culture. Studio workshop students used writing, drawing, photography, film, video, television, web design, installation, performance, slides, audio, sculpture, architecture and other media to develop and realize individual creative projects that addressed issues of memory, place, narration and representation.