Ritualizing and Archiving the Past: Unit 5 Assignment 1 by Alec Stimac

Schneider’s Performance Remains

! : According to Schneider, the body itself “becomes an archive and host to a collective memory” (pg. 103). The idea of a new history being formed from not only different performative practices but also collective memory is intricate and provides context as to how we ourselves create history, not necessarily through strictly written documentation, but with our actions and physical presence. Internal and external histories become part of the archive (act as the archive).

? : How does Schneider’s idea of “retroaction” and rituals of “domiciliation” or “house arrest” (pg. 105) connect to Ralph Lemon’s Counter-Memorials through ritualization? Is what makes the archive a complex “social” performance the diverse backgrounds, pieces of art, and people that partake in crafting a whole archive? Or does it have to do with the societal impact it has on history and new generations that look into these archival performances?

Birns’ Ritualizing the Past

! : Lemon’s practice of “empirical performance formalism” has become an important factor in how his work is portrayed, crafted, and examined (pg. 19). I found the metaphor of these ritualizations to be like diary entries, each being different in their presentation and responses but able to come together to form one cohesive story/archive, to be profound. However, in the end, only the observer on site can “know” the true, untouched history of what was there compared to a historical marker. Even thought the research isn’t completely evident in the final work, it is still deeply rooted in the final product.

? : Toward the end of the article, Birns’ states, “the horror is gone” (pg. 22). However, is the “horror” of the past truly gone? And can one ever completely make “peace?” I am wondering which ways of approaching these histories is the best option for people to initiate reflection, discussion, and action? What kind of “historical experiences” have proven to be most affective? Do memorials actually make us think the past is finished? In essence, which of these experiences help us gain power to construct change and progression forward (and if they all do, how come things are still complacent today)?

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