It is the tension inherent in the absence of people, things, places or symbols, which turns loss into a community inspiring force. According to Aleida Assmann, it seems »much more difficult to store gaps, voids and absence than the experience of a presence« (Assmann, 2006). Current technologies promise the possibility of fully documenting the world. Nothing would be lost. This would lead to something we could think of as a non-biased, total archive, that would be almost impossible to navigate. Contrary to this stands the idea of the classifying archive, which, by definition, is constituted by selection, exclusion and thus by deliberate disposal.
Under the title »Collecting Loss«, the 2nd Annual Conference of the Research Training Group »Identity & Heritage« asks if and how loss can be collected and stored and how absence can be shown. In order to explore the multiple dimensions of loss, and opposing strategies of collecting, storing, and presenting practices, we will be looking into the relationship between the concepts of loss, archive, heritage, and identity.