May 1968. Visual Documents, Institutional Framings and Memory

​Mo 27/03/2017



The events of May 1968 in France generated an enduring visual legacy, of photographs, graffiti, political cartoons, and posters, which has formed the basis of the many commemorative events and exhibitions. This talk will address the role of the visual in the various ways in which May 1968 has been represented, rethought, discussed, and remembered in exhibitions, displays and publications since the early 1970s. The talk will argue that the institutional framings of some of the most frequently exhibited and published visual documents of the era dovetail neatly with the dominant cultural and political narratives in French public discourse, which attempted to manage the legacy of the May 1968 events through the ideological systemic elimination of their political dimensions and affects. Finally, the talk draws upon unpublished archival visual artefacts in order to ask how they can be used to resist ideologically-driven erasure of May 1968’s radical potential from ‘official’ memory.

Antigoni Memou: Senior Lecturer in Visual Theories at the School of Arts and Digital Industries at the University of East London (U.K.). Her book “Photography and Social Movements. From the Globalisation of the Movement (1968) to the Movement Against Globalisation” (2001) was published by Manchester University Press in 2013.