Inessential views of art and photography.
Last week, I presented work in progress at the research symposium “Photography and Resistance” organised by Dr. Kylie Thomas and Dr. Uschi Klein at the School of Media, University of Brighton. It was a fantastic event that highlighted the need to think and rethink the status of the photographic image in relation to political and affective processes of protest, resistance and resilience. Below you can read more about the presentation via the conference blog.
If you want to know more about the research into the autograph book, head to the Everyday Matters: Writing Obscure Lives blog, where a three-way presentation/performance on this we did earlier in 2018 in the Oxford Centre for Life Writing is featured. Download and listen to our voices here.
Autograph, friendship and memory books are part of vernacular cultures functioning as aide-memoire (Katzev: 2009: 13-5), source of companionship, support and bonding within normative values of society (Herzog and Shapira, 1986, p. 110,122) as their institutionalisation in archives and museum collections demonstrates. The memory book addressed in this paper originated in Ravensbrück concentration camp, and it was used to collect ideas of freedom, common suffering and homeland, which helped women there imprisoned to cope in a context of severe risk. This memory book allowed for a space of relational resilience (Jordan, 2005) to emerge via resistance. Outside of the concentration camp, this memory book becomes an instrument of post-memory (Hirsch, 1997) and transgenerational resilience, thereby highlighting the reciprocal nature of action (Mol, 2010, p. 265) and how the interplay of Funktions- and Speichergedaetchnis (Assmann, 1999) impact on existing conceptualizations of personal and collective coping with severe circumstances.
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