Leah Decter

memoration #2: constituent parts

durational performacne
curator: Erin Sutherland

photo credit: Aric McBay, Dorit Naaman

memoration #2: constituent parts 

memoration #2: constituent parts was a durational performance commissioned for Métis curator Erin Sutherland’s performance series, Talkin’ Back to Johnny Mac. It spanned from the busy lobby of Queen’s University’s Stauffer Library to the John A MacDonald statue in Kingston‘s City Park. In response to Sutherland’s premise of intervening in the bicentenary celebrations of MacDonald’s birth, I chose to focus on everyday spaces, interactions, and impulses as they manifest in the present. The 9 hour performance alluded to the ways in which the residues of Macdonald’s policies, as foundational expressions of settler colonialism, are sutured into the fabric of life and consciousness in contemporary mainstream Canadian society.

Situated within architectures haunted by colonial legacies and their erasure, it confronted the normalizing and amnesic forces underpinning colonial nation-building by enlisting iconic elements of visual culture, such as the canoe, that are instrumental in forming the bedrock of the dominant Canadian (settler) imaginary. As an intervention into sites, celebrations, and symbols that are inscribed into daily life with disregard for their bonds to historical and ongoing colonial nation-building, memoration #2 worked to reveal the well-honed practices of biased amnesia that contribute to the maintenance of colonial beliefs, systems, and values. It considered the potentials, complexities, and challenges of intervening, from a white settler perspective, into dominant forms of coloniality within contemporary Canadian culture.

link to: “Moving Unsettlement: Excursions into public and pedagogical memory” in Journal of Critical Race Inquiry, Vol. 3, no 1.
link to: “memoration #2: constituent parts” in Liminalities, a Journal of Performance Studies, Vol.12, no 3.

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