REBECKA KATZ THOR is a researcher, writer and editor. She holds a PhD in Aesthetics from Södertörn University, Sweden. Her research focuses on the aesthetics of commemoration, image production’s and contemporary art’s relation to historical, ethical and political claims.
She leads the research project entitled Remember us To Life - Vulnerable Memories in a Prospective Monument, Memorial and Museum, funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond 2021-2023. The research will follow three ongoing commemorative projects in Sweden and investigate their relationship to notions of vulnerability and grievability.
Her dissertation Beyond the Witness – Holocaust Representation and the Testimony of Images investigates the image-as-witness in three films made of archival materials. She is active as a critic and teacher in aesthetics and art theory. She has an MA from the New School for Social Research, New York (2007-2009), was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2010-2012) and was editor for in-depths material and reflection at Public Art Agency Sweden (2019-2020).
Remember us To Life - Vulnerable Memory in a Prospective Monument, Memorial and Museum
This project aims to investigate three commemorative projects that are currently under development in Sweden: A Holocaust museum, a monument over Swedish colonialization and a memorial for the victims of a murderer with racist motifs. I suggest that these three projects can be read as an engagement with an unhealed wound. This enables an investigation of how vulnerability is connected to questions of commemoration, cultural heritage and public space. The three projects are very different in terms of scale, temporality and commissioner but can be understood in a common framework of how a society deals with the memory of vulnerable lives in public commemorations. Central aspects are that I follow the processes of development rather than, in retrospect, assess their result and that the proposed project consists of an empirical part and a critical evaluation of the three projects and the chosen theoretical frame. The research addresses how contemporary discussions of public commemoration can be understood in relation to notions of vulnerability and grievability, the role of the commissioner, how future practices of commemoration can be sensible to a variety of aesthetic expressions, voices and experiences and how these commemorative projects can be considered as a form of ethical response to the past, theoretically as well as in relation to the current demands of the protests Black Lives Matter and in how cultural heritage is defined.
Installation av verket ''Walking with Shadows'' av Eric Magassa, Franska Tomten, GIBCA 2019. Foto: Eric Magassa