Memory & Arts WG | Embodiment USB G.003
Jul 05, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230705T1100 20230705T1230 Europe/London 3.11. Memory & Arts Panel 1: Embodying Memory: Art, Ritual and Reenactment

This panel proposes a transtemporal and transpatial reflection that explores how memory can be embodied, reimagined, and restaged, both individually and collectively, through three artistic gestures: walking/mapping, performance, and embroidery. The panel analyzes artworks that belong to different geographical and historical contexts – Germany, Kazakhstan and México. As it brings them into conversation, it considers how haptic visuality, rituality and dramatic violence question hegemonic representations of violence through the incorporation of an aesthetic/sensorial dimension of memory that opens up the road to new ways of imagining forms of community and a global ethics of care.

Irina R. Troconis, Cornell University:

Crisscrossed Times and Performing Remains in Adela Goldbard's RINXUI (2019-2022)The most popular attraction of Mexican ecotourism site Parque EcoAlberto is not kayaking or water slides; it is the "caminata nocturna." Conceived by members of the Hñähñu community of El Alberto as a tourist attraction and in operation since July 2004, the walk is a border-crossing reenactment/oral history performance that enables those who choose to participate in it to experience what it would be like to cross the border from Mexico to the United States illegally, at night, under stressful and dangerous conditions. The participants can choose from two options - the "caminata normal" that lasts three hours, and the "caminata extrema" that lasts over six hours. In both cases, they will encounter border patrol guards and drug smugglers, and will be rushed through streams and be chased by sirens and dogs.This paper puts the reenactment that takes place in the "caminata nocturna" in dialogue with its re-presentation in Mexican artist Adela Goldbard's shor ...

USB G.003 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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This panel proposes a transtemporal and transpatial reflection that explores how memory can be embodied, reimagined, and restaged, both individually and collectively, through three artistic gestures: walking/mapping, performance, and embroidery. The panel analyzes artworks that belong to different geographical and historical contexts – Germany, Kazakhstan and México. As it brings them into conversation, it considers how haptic visuality, rituality and dramatic violence question hegemonic representations of violence through the incorporation of an aesthetic/sensorial dimension of memory that opens up the road to new ways of imagining forms of community and a global ethics of care.



Irina R. Troconis, Cornell University:

Crisscrossed Times and Performing Remains in Adela Goldbard's RINXUI (2019-2022)

The most popular attraction of Mexican ecotourism site Parque EcoAlberto is not kayaking or water slides; it is the "caminata nocturna." Conceived by members of the Hñähñu community of El Alberto as a tourist attraction and in operation since July 2004, the walk is a border-crossing reenactment/oral history performance that enables those who choose to participate in it to experience what it would be like to cross the border from Mexico to the United States illegally, at night, under stressful and dangerous conditions. The participants can choose from two options - the "caminata normal" that lasts three hours, and the "caminata extrema" that lasts over six hours. In both cases, they will encounter border patrol guards and drug smugglers, and will be rushed through streams and be chased by sirens and dogs.
This paper puts the reenactment that takes place in the "caminata nocturna" in dialogue with its re-presentation in Mexican artist Adela Goldbard's short film RINXUI [En la noche/In the Night] (2019-2022), which shows not tourists but the members of the Hñähñu community themselves taking part of the walk. Drawing from the work of Rebecca Schneider, Diana Taylor, and Michael Rothberg, I will argue that Goldbard's work offers a compelling framework to understand the "caminata nocturna" as a form of temporal subversion that opens up new ways of embodying memory, relationality, and agency.


Assel Kadyrkhanova:

Touching upon the invisible. Embroidery, language, and transgenerational memory

As a postgeneration artist, I explore the question of traumatic inheritance that escapes consciousness while being passed down generations as some form of Crypt or buried traumatic knowledge reproduced symptomatically (Abraham, Torok). In my work, I use embroidery to revoke the sense of touch to read and rewrite and, potentially, repair remnants of difficult pasts.
This paper will discuss concepts of haptic visuality and transgenerational memory. In particular, I will speak about my two works: Windows of Tolerance (2017) and Marjam (work-in-progress). The former uses embroidery to explore the urban phenomenon in former Soviet territories, the omnipresent window grill, to address the idea of the persistence of Sovietness in post-Soviet time-space. The second work, Marjam, draws upon the story of my grandmother, who lived through the October revolution, the collectivisation famine (1930 – 1933) and Stalinist purges in Kazakhstan. Her life was also affected by the policy of changing alphabets as part of the Sovietisation of the region. Using embroidery to reflect on the invisibility of women's labour and to draw a parallel between language and ornament, I seek to contrast the haptic practices to the distancing acts of the eye. Originally conceived as community work, the concept has narrowed down to the level of family, engaging women of different ages who have personal connections to my grandmother to explore more directly transgenerational family memory practices.


Adela Goldbard, Rhodes Island School of Design, Providence, Rhodes Island RINXUI: 

Border-crossing Reenactment as Decolonial Subversion

El Alberto is a small Indigenous Hñähñu community in central México. For more than 15 years, members of El Alberto have been reenacting their border-crossing experiences as a touristic attraction under the name of la caminata nocturna [the night walk], considered by some scholars–and Netflix–as a mode of dark tourism. I argue that la caminata is a much more complex phenomenon in which a carnival-sense-of-the-world emerges: reality is suspended and power is defeated by performing power, by embodying the oppressor, by using dramatic/aesthetic violence as a means to contest physical, structural and epistemic violence. In this decolonial/disobedient oral history performance, embodied memory and communal agency disarticulate the politics of memory - who wants whom to remember what and why. RINXUI [En la noche/In the Night] (2019-2022) is an immersive, sensory and ambiguous exploration of la caminata nocturna through the grammar of film that I created in collaboration with community members of El Alberto. In RINXUI the tourists have been purposely left out, reverting the reenactment to its original version when only community members participated. It was shot in complete darkness with the help of night vision cameras and infrared lights. Its rough and flawed aesthetic continuously 'fractures' the viewer's expectations and throws them off balance. RINXUI´s ambiguous character and forensic aesthetic (caused by the use of night vision devices) put the viewer in a problematic position that can lead to discomfort, bringing into question the ethics and the politics of witnessing. I will argue that this discomfort is a decolonial gesture. I propose a multimedia presentation of/about RINXUI and la caminata that will include fragments of the film and testimonies.


Liliana Gómez:

Failing witnesses: the archive and its contested memories

The paper discusses the role of the archive and the (absence of the) courtroom as normative sites of historical memory in situations of (post-)conflict and transition from violent pasts, as they interlock the levels of the state, civil society and the individual. Both, the archive and the courtroom act and thus create new political subjects, normative narratives, and state practices partaking in the contestation of historical memory. The paper looks – as a speculative point of departure – at the courtroom of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the work Dust Breeding by Sarah Vanagt and discusses the idea of (failing) witnesses in Rabih Mroué's theather play Looking for a Missing Employee. These two aesthetic interventions seem to articulate truth claims, but they also contest the historical memory or the absence of it, and thus the remembrance of civil wars. Overall, the paper seeks to understand the mnemonic/archival potential and possible counter-semantics articulated by contemporary art and theater that address critical historiographies, accountability, responsibility, and truth, looking at, on the one hand, the "courtroom" as a forum and performative site for truth constructions and historical narratives about violent pasts. On the other, the paper examines the collective dimension of truth telling and witnessing or its failing to revisit the idea of political participation in historical memory.


Nela Milic, University of the Arts of London:

Digitalising The Museum

Digitalising The Museum is a paper about construction of an online repository Corona Defiance Gallery (https://coronadefiancegallery.myblog.arts.ac.uk) created as a substitute for physical visits to London's museums, galleries and art centres that were meant to be undertaken by undergraduates from the London College of Communication (LCC) in 2020. In an attempt to provide a version of the exhibition experience whilst arts venues were in lockdown due to pandemic, the author began exploring their online provision, featuring it in a virtual learning resource and theorising 'digital museum'. This research was conducted with support of Design School graduates who undertook digital ethnography in order to find out about the rapid turn to virtual showcases, talks, collections and classes.

How museums changed to reflect the concern for climate change and Black Lives Matter movement that spread through COVID-19 pandemic? How these changes affected representation of museums as cultural agents, custodians of memory and national institutions? Lastly, how young people saw the adjustments of museums' relationship with storytelling in programming, mission statements and staff demography and was that amendment a reflection of contemporary lives, issues and agendas we want embodied in those organisations?

This paper would address the tweaking of the positionality eight London museums had towards the past in order to make themselves relevant in the present. It will trace the process of engagement with digital technology (AI, VR and AR) as the means for this journey into the unknown corrective.

Prof. Dr./Professor
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documenta Institut, Universität Kassel
dr
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University of the Arts of London
Assistant Professor
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Cornell University
Visual artist (Dr.), Postdoctoral research fellow
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University of Amsterdam
Concordia University, Montreal
Senior Lecturer In Visual Cultures
,
Goldsmiths, University of London
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