Place, performance, memory: towards an ecology of remembering

Wednesday 28 May 2014, 5.00PM

Speaker(s): Gay McAuley, Department of Performance Studies, University of Sydney

Department of Theatre, Film and Television research seminar

There are many places in the world where atrocities have been committed and where people must nevertheless go on living. From ‘organised forgetting’ to national apologies, from denial to obsessive remembering, local communities and whole societies have dealt in different ways with the traumatic memory of violence perpetrated in the places they now occupy.

This paper, drawing on my experience as a migrant in Australia, deals with some of the ways in which people in that country are now beginning to acknowledge the violence of their own history and with the responsibilities people in the present bear for violence committed in the past. I am interested in the role of place in these processes of remembering (and forgetting) and in the fact that the time frame for dealing with traumatic memory may extend over several generations.

The paper describes a number of works by Australian artists that form part of what John Gillis has called ‘memory work,’ the highly politicised social processes whereby memory is controlled and contested.

Location: Department of Theatre, Film and Television, room 109

Admission: All welcome