On Wednesday 17 October, Regent’s University London was delighted to welcome New York based film director Tim Slade who introduced his highly-acclaimed film The Destruction of Memory.
The 2016 documentary examines cultural destruction across a range of historic and contemporary events, and includes interviews with the Director-General of UNESCO, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, architect Daniel Libeskind and many international experts.
Tim Slade in front an image from The Destruction of Memory showing the reconstructed Vijećnica, the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, a symbol of the intercultural identity of the city.
The event was a successful collaboration between the International Open Seminars Series 2018/19, run by Professor Yossi Mekelberg, and The Representation of Memory Seminar, run by Dr Deborah Schultz, an ongoing series of seminars bringing together scholars working on the representation of memory in the visual arts.
The screening was followed by a stimulating Q&A with Tim Slade. The discussion explored wide-ranging topics including the ways in which perpetrators have referred to cultural destruction, the use of new technology in identifying former sites, methods of reconstruction, and how cultural destruction is carried out not only during conflict but also in peacetime. The audience appreciated the great opportunity to speak directly to the film’s director, who also addressed the challenges that arose in making the film.
As the former Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, states in the film, cultural destruction "is not just about bricks and stones. It’s really about some important messages and the way we see human civilisation evolving and developing."
The narrator comments: "In this war, buildings are not destroyed because they are in the way of a target. The buildings are the target."
The event was generously supported by the HASS Faculty and a DVD of the extended version of the film has been bought for the University library.