WORKING GROUP 4 Materiality and memory/memoria

Ansprechpartnerin: Evelien Roels

In the first funding period, the CRC was mainly concerned with the spatial features of writing’s presence. The working group of materiality and memoria would now like to invite to reflect on the temporal dimensions of materiality and scripture. We will focus on inscribed artefacts and their function as carriers of memoria. We are interested in understanding the attempt of temporal transgression and transience by way of inscribing artefacts, or the complex interaction of human beings, artefacts, writing, and time. The working gourps aim is the establishment of a dialogue between projects that concentrate on different times and questions.

As a response on Jan Assmann’s concept of cultural memory, we worked out a provisional typology that can illuminate inscribed artefacts from a memorial-historical perspective. Assmann distinguishes four “external dimensions of memory”, of which one, namely the category of the “memory of things”, appears at first sight to be particularly relevant for our question. While he focusses extensively on things as instruments for daily use, he never mentions inscribed artefacts or writing. In this context, however, he talks about a “temporal index” of things “that points, within its present appearance towards various layers of the past” (Assmann, Das kulturelle Gedächtnis, 20). While this temporal index is only to be developed retrospectively, we are also concerned with a prospective indexation of the analysis of history and memory.