Museums & Memory WG | Creative Approaches to Memory TFDC 1.17
Jul 07, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230707T0900 20230707T1030 Europe/London 8.8. Museums and Memory #6: Exhibits as Transgenerational and Transmedial

This panel studies affective viewership in exhibitions and museums that focus on experiential knowledge for postmemorial generations of visitors practices of witnessing, critical interrogation, and knowledge that emerge from such memory projects. Randi Marselis's paper explores how photos elicited memory work amongst postcolonial migrants in the Netherlands from a variety of cultural backgrounds with a focus on the interplay between independent memory work and institutional heritage projects. Randi will examine the use of photography in the exhibition Our Country – Decolonization, generations, stories, opened in February 2022 at Museum Sophiahof (den Haag, NL), as well as memory work around family photographs on community websites and in social media. Shuchi Kapila discusses how a well installation at the new partition museum in Amritsar, India, might become a site for witnessing of a particularly gendered form of partition trauma and why postmemorial generations might need more from such a museum. Kate Marrison studies the use of augmented reality mobile/tablet applications at the Dachau Concentration Camp and Memorial Site. Drawing on theories of historical reenactment and affective witnessing, she argues that the user of The Liberation AR app is invited to perform the role of the American liberators through (re)photographic practices.

Trina Cooper-Bolam, Concordia University

Storied Transformations: Decolonizing Inherited Space through (Counter) Memorial Performance 

Potential forensic landscapes, the evidentiary remains of sites of colonial violence are frequently 'doctored', overwritten in ways that occlude their prepossessed states and inhibit our access to land memory, frustrating attempts of historical recovery and decolonial remediat ...

TFDC 1.17 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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This panel studies affective viewership in exhibitions and museums that focus on experiential knowledge for postmemorial generations of visitors practices of witnessing, critical interrogation, and knowledge that emerge from such memory projects. Randi Marselis's paper explores how photos elicited memory work amongst postcolonial migrants in the Netherlands from a variety of cultural backgrounds with a focus on the interplay between independent memory work and institutional heritage projects. Randi will examine the use of photography in the exhibition Our Country – Decolonization, generations, stories, opened in February 2022 at Museum Sophiahof (den Haag, NL), as well as memory work around family photographs on community websites and in social media. Shuchi Kapila discusses how a well installation at the new partition museum in Amritsar, India, might become a site for witnessing of a particularly gendered form of partition trauma and why postmemorial generations might need more from such a museum. Kate Marrison studies the use of augmented reality mobile/tablet applications at the Dachau Concentration Camp and Memorial Site. Drawing on theories of historical reenactment and affective witnessing, she argues that the user of The Liberation AR app is invited to perform the role of the American liberators through (re)photographic practices.



Trina Cooper-Bolam, Concordia University

Storied Transformations: Decolonizing Inherited Space through (Counter) Memorial Performance 

Potential forensic landscapes, the evidentiary remains of sites of colonial violence are frequently 'doctored', overwritten in ways that occlude their prepossessed states and inhibit our access to land memory, frustrating attempts of historical recovery and decolonial remediation. Traditional territory of Garden River and Batchewana First Nations, and later the site of two generations of 'Indian' residential schools, the vast industrial/residential schooling complex upon which Shingwauk Home and Hall once stood has been variably razed and enclosed, yielding to the visual (and ideological) programme of current occupants Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig. This paper outlines a critical return via a project of research-creation and experimental pedagogy that assists Survivors of the Shingwauk Indian Residential School in their efforts to reclaim this site of trauma, perform remediative repair, and reset relations of entanglement with each other, the land and its/our memories. Through land-based learning, methods of praxiological museology, and other cultural, creative, and performative methods, Storied Transformations deploys pedagogies from diverse disciplines to engage students in building and supporting Survivor-driven, technologically-enhanced, in situ interpretation, memorialization, and Indigenous place-(re)making. Combining and deploying existing technologies in unprecedented ways, this research will create a human-scale (post)memorial landscape, performative monument, and immersive VR storytelling space making visible erased historical iterations, uses, and experiences of the Shingwauk site. A unique foray into critical returns through counter-memorial and decolonial performance, the project aspires to contribute methods toward addressing similar 'doctored sites' in ways that render their traces legible and restore their affective and mnemonic potency.


Shuchi Kapila, Grinnell College

Making memory transnational: Reconfiguring the 1947 Amritsar Partition Museum

The late twentieth century was a time of reckoning with the traumas, genocides, and difficult histories that the world had lived through in early and mid century with the two world wars as the two points of particular intensity but by no means the only ones. Museums have evolved to come to a radically transformed understanding of their relationship to difficult histories and their role as educators. The process of creating a partition museum in India has not been without controversy. Scholars have been at pains to point out that memory in this context did not necessarily have a positive consequence, that the partition was unlike the Holocaust or apartheid as the issue was not state repression but rather an outburst of hatred between communities that had built up in the years leading up to 1947. In 2013, debating the wisdom of creating a partition museum, the historian Ramachandra Guha argued that "the well meaning individuals who proposed a partition museum saw it as a vehicle of reconciliation. In truth, such a project is far more likely to create new fissures, open up new wounds. The narratives carried by these communities are so intensely felt, so parochial that it is impossible ever to reconcile them within the space of a single building or exhibit." 1

The partition museum in Amritsar was inaugurated in October 2017 but was fully opened to the public on the seventieth anniversary of Indian independence on August 17, 2017. It is being run by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, a body that chaired by journalist and writer, Kishwar Desai and has on its Advisory Board the artist Anjali Ela Menon and designer Ritu Kumar. In this paper, I explore the possibilities of reconfiguring the museum through a feminist lens, given that the abduction of 75,000 women on both sides of the new border between India and Pakistan was, arguably, one of the worst atrocities of the event. This approach would move the focus of the museum away from nationalist martyrology and make


Kate Marrison, University of Sussex

Digital Dachau: Witnessing through Augmented Reality Apps on Site

Selecting the Dachau Concentration Camp and Memorial site as a case study, this paper investigates the affordances of using mixed reality at memorial sites through exploring The Liberation and ARt AR mobile/tablet applications. These applications are digital guided tours which enable visitors to superimpose historical photographs (The Liberation), drawings and paintings (ARt) over the present-day memorial site while listening to audio and (actor impersonations of) testimony. Taking a phenomenological approach, this research investigates the positionality of the user within these projects, which invite us to examine, enact, and perform in various ways. In this context, I argue that new media technologies might expand our capacities to witness and open up new possibilities for moral response.

Drawing on theories of historical reenactment and affective witnessing, this paper argues that the user of The Liberation is invited to reenact the role of the American liberators through (re)photographic practices. Foregrounding the participatory ambitions of the project as a mode of embodied and experiential knowing, I investigate how the visitor/user is invited to imaginatively occupy the role of the first-person witness to affectively engage with the archive across the spatiotemporal divide. Teasing apart the similarities and differences between the two experiences, this paper also explores ARt as the second AR application, to consider how the positionality of the user changes when interacting with paintings and drawings. Advancing on recent studies which seek to foreground imagination as an essential conduit for memory practice, then, this paper puts forward an understanding of "digital Holocaust witnessing" in, by and through new media technologies.


Banting Postdoctoral Researcher
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Concordia University, Montreal
Professor of English
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Grinnell College
Postdoctoral Fellow / Digital Education Project Lead
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The Weidenfeld Institute, University of Sussex
Dr Irit Dekel
Assistant Professor Germanic Studies and Jewish Studies
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Indiana University (Bloomington, USA)
 Ene Kõresaar
Professor of Oral History and Memory Studies
,
University of Tartu
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