Unit 5, Post 1- Erin Simard

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Performance Remains

Because white conquerors are the “winners” of history, we have chosen what and how we preserve and what we deem important enough to preserve in the “archive.” As Schneider states, “the archive is habitual to Western culture.” (100) Performance as a method of preserving and inheriting the past is associated with “primal” nations within Western society, while documentation is associated with Western heritage. Therefore, performance as a primary vehicle of remembrance threatens Western cultures and the “archive.”

Ritualizing the Past

Lemon’s work introduced a new meaning of the term “banality of evil” to me. Rather than just meaning that because every day people are capable of doing evil without necessarily being evil themselves, it can also mean how swiftly America moves on from horrifically violent acts of racism and transitions back into every day life, as if the acts which occurred never happened at all or that they do not carry enough significance to warrant a disruption in our behavior. For example, Birns mentions that the motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, the Lorraine Motel, continued to operate as a motel well into the 1980s. In comparison, the Ford Theatre (where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated) remained closed from the day he was shot until 1968, when it reopened as a museum.

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Performance Remains

Is there a way to ever truly curate our “archive” to create a truthful narrative of our history, representative of all people and the ways in which they were influential?

Ritualizing the Past

Could art’s/a performance’s transcendant qualities be the key to unlocking the empathy needed to make change?

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