Mary Shandley Unit 5 Assignment 1

! – In the Schneider reading, what struck me the most was the way Schneider challenged the idea that parts of history have been lost because they were orally transmitted, pointing out that this is a limiting, largely Western perspective that silences the stories of non-Western cultures (103). I realized that my conception of disappearance is part of a Western conceptual scheme, and that written records are far from the only way of keeping a memory.

? – As I was reading Schneider’s argument, I began to apply these concepts to my own experience in music performance, and wondered if music performance could produce the same effect of disappearance as dance or theatrical performance, since it is not physical. Could its intangibility render it even more difficult to understand in non-archival terms?

! – In the second reading, when Nicholas Birns notes how Ralph Lemon “seeks to ritualize the past, but not to monumentalize it” (22), it reminded me of one of the lectures Bory gave in Montgomery in which she said that creating a monument or physical memorial of a tragedy allows one to walk away from it feeling as if one has done enough. Perhaps the reason why Lemon’s ritualistic memorials are more emotionally powerful is that, through its repetition, it forces both the performer and the viewer to reckon with the event.

? – When I read the sentence on page 19 that mentioned that Lemon’s performances frequently had no audience, I thought back to our discussion of “Strange Fruit” and how it challenged our preconceived notions of what performance is. Does a performance need to have an audience to be a performance?

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