Unit 5 Post 1: Preston Ito

Birns: Ritualizing the Past: Ralph Lemon’s Counter-Memorials

!- “His work makes clear that any reckoning with the past must be both traumatic and incomplete.” (Birns 22) Analyzing the various methods to pay respects to the troubled past is something that I’ve thought more about, especially after the trip to Montgomery. The distinction between ritualizing and memorializing made here is interesting, and directly relates to Professor Bory’s unit. Birns talks about Lemon’s art is meant to be an experience, rather than a mere presentation of facts.

?- With the idea of ritualizing over memorializing in mind, what is the best thing that I, a student and observer, do to understand the past on the deepest level?

Schneider: Performance Remains

!- “Is it not rather mimetic representation, and somewhat bogus or indiscreet at that? Is the live bloater not offering a mimetic and perhaps even ludicrous copy of something only vaguely imagined as a bloated corpse?” (Schneider 103) This made me think back to the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, specifically the scenes with the people in the jail cells. I remember Sam Van Horn bringing up the point that those people were actors. These people were told to present themselves in a certain way to mimic the struggles of those in the past. It’s an interesting perspective to look at these actors not only at what they’re portraying, but also see them as a person acting in attempt to preserve history.

?- “In the archive, flesh is given to be that which slips away. Flesh can house no memory of bone. Only bone speaks memory of flesh. Flesh is blindspot. Disappearing.” (Schneider 102) I don’t really understand this analogy. I think Schneider is trying to compare performance to flesh, in that they are both fleeing. I don’t understand the role of the bone and what that symbolizes in the context of this analogy.

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