7 November 2018

Collage / cento

Poetic epistemology:

“these people down here, this is like an echo chamber,

it’s an echo chamber that resonates with the testimony

of the living witnesses—and these people, these dead

people are telling us the same story that the living

witnesses have told us” (Alcalay 162)

This is from the warring factions, and although there is a list of sources in the “note on materials & processes” it is only my guess that this is piece of text is about forensic anthropology in the context of a massacre since individual borrowings are not cited within the body of the text. The book as a whole is “for Srebrenica” What is the function of a cento after a massacre? The relationship between quoted language and the remains of the dead? Asking questions like these makes me uneasy, but I believe that it is required by this text.

Something about from the warring factions makes me think that it could be read productively alongside Jenny Holzer’s work at Mass MoCA which displays post-9/11 declassified government documents relating to US involvement in torture. Documents and bones.

My feminist theory class has me thinking about the task of assembling archives vs performance theory’s idea of the body as an archive.

What is meaningful about the archives Alcalay assembles?

The selection and arrangement are the gesture.