Twists, Nooks, and Turns: Creating New Grammars of Collective Memory

Co-conveners: Saskia Hughes (University College London) and Laura Malaver (University of Colorado Boulder)

Abstract: This working group seeks to explore collective memory and affective gestures of pain through performance as embodied praxis. The organizers for this working group aim to co-create a collaborative virtual space to challenge the notion of memory as a linear process, and to deconstruct the notion of who decides on a collective ‘truth’ or ‘history’. The conveners will question the idea of the ‘original’ and linear time which exist in the process of translation, a practice we are all constantly engaged in. The organizers will ask participants to reflect on their own processes of translation, in order to avoid perpetuating hierarchies of meaning that can cause pain and erase other ways of being. In turn, we will work together to create new grammars of collective memory. Using durational and endurance performance-based movement, this working group will put pressure on and challenge existing hierarchies of meaning and time. While being in prolonged positions can cause pain, this pain in turn is welcomed as an affective gesture in our bodies and between bodies, moving from the aesthetic to the political. We will examine our experiences of conflict, both internal and external, and co-create shared practices which bring into question how these experiences are represented. We are committed to grounding our work in creating memory collectively and on performance as the medium through which to question existing power structures. How can we create alternatives to current structures of family, behavior, community, relationships to the natural environment, and the historical archive that exceed matrices of oppression very present in these times of crisis?

Application: To apply to this working group, please complete the general application here.