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IV Walter Benjamin International Conference, 2012
03.11.2012 - 04.11.2012
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IV Walter Benjamin International Conference, 2012




Exile Memorial Museum

Walter Benjamin Chair, Memory and Exile, Girona University

Portbou Town Council


“Strolling through the Memories and Landscapes of the City. From the Regional Metropolis to the Global Megalopolis”


Portbou, 3rd and 4th November 2012


One of the main themes of Walter Benjamin’s intellectual work was his interest in the urban societies of his time, as he saw them as the best exponent of the new modes of behaviour deriving from Modernity. Undoubtedly, throughout his extensive and varied essay work, study of the urban issue plays a key role, given that he approached it as a crucial aspect for understanding the essence of modern societies that were subject to deep transformations due to a gradual and intensive industrialisation. In this respect, his native Berlin, the Moscow of the Revolution and, above all, the Paris of the Second Empire – as a precursor – were the laboratories from which Walter Benjamin was able to critically detect the depth of the changes that affected the forms of life of the men and women of his time. The modern city therefore became a privileged space to analyse the ambivalences of Modernity.


At present, well into the second decade of the 21st century, Walter Benjamin’s contributions continue to be highly suggestive when examining the urban transformation. Undoubtedly, bearing in mind that 80% of the population of this globalised planet live in urban areas, the approaches established by the Jewish-German philosopher are today a source of inspiration for the analysis of the contemporary city. Consequently, this year’s conference, following Walter Benjamin’s cross-over approach, proposes a journey – a Benjaminian stroll – through the complexity of today’s urban landscapes taking into consideration the memories and oblivions that form them. In order to successfully develop this dialogue on urban space and time, the Walter Benjamin International Conference has called on anthropologists, architects, artists, philosophers, geographers and specialists in aesthetics and art theory.

This international conference coincides with the 72nd anniversary of the death of the Jewish-German philosopher.





Saturday, 3rd November


8 am Walk Banyuls-sur-Mer‒Portbou. The Arts Journey, Walter Benjamin Route


Text selection and guidance: Clara Garí. A project by Nau Côclea

Departure from Portbou. Please register at Portbou Tourism Office before 2nd November 2012. Telephone (0034) 972125161. Coach price: 5 euros


4 pm: Opening of the Walter Benjamin International Conference

Institutional speeches and presentation of the Walter Benjamin Chair, Memory and Exile.


4.30 pm: Elegiac friendship as a Benjaminian political proposal in modern society¸ lecture by Lluís Virgili Montull (Doctor of Philosophy)


5.30 pm: Walking through the city in films¸ lecture by Imma Merino (Girona University)



6.30 pm: Break


7 pm: Roundtable On Walter Benjamin: inhabiting, planning and imagining the urban space in the 21st century

With the participation of Octavi Rofes (Escola Eina and Pompeu Fabra University), Martí Peran (Barcelona University), Domènec (visual artist) and Marta Serra (Polytechnic University of Catalonia)

Moderator: Joan Nogué (Girona University)



8.30 pm – 9 pm: Presentation of the project “Abad‒Benjamin. Correspondences”, by Francesc Abad (visual artist) and Claudia Kalász (Goethe-Institut Barcelona)

Part of this project will be exhibited in the auditorium where the lectures will take place during the two days of the Walter Benjamin International Conference (www.mural-abad.net)



Sunday, 4th November


11 am: Tribute to Walter Benjamin at Portbou cemetery. Floral offering and speeches


12 noon: Presentation of the Walter Benjamin International Award by the Jury (first phase of the award, 2012)


*All the lectures will take place at the auditorium of the Centre Cívic Ca l’Herrero, (C/Méndez Núñez s/n, Portbou)


Jordi Font Agulló (MUME) / Jörg Zimmer (Walter Benjamin Chair, Memory and Exile / Girona University)


Maximiliano Fuentes (Girona University / MUME)

Advisory Board

Francesc Abad (artist); Xavier Antich (Girona University); Fina Birulés (Barcelona University); Montserrat Galceran (Complutense University of Madrid); Jordi Llovet (Barcelona University); Pilar Parcerisas (CoNCa); Àngel Quintana (Girona University); Enzo Traverso (Université de Picardie Jules Verne–EHESS); Erdmut Wizisla (Walter Benjamin Archiv, Berlin)

Associated institutions

MUME Consortium (La Jonquera Town Council, Government of Catalonia / Memorial Democràtic, Alt Empordà Regional Council, Girona University)

Portbou Town Council

Walter Benjamin Chair, Memory and Exile


With the support of

Diputació de Girona

With the collaboration of

Nau Côclea


Free inscription. Contact at MUME  (  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or call 972 556 533.