Walking-with holocaust memory: porous bodies and reluctant heritage

White, R (2018) Walking-with holocaust memory: porous bodies and reluctant heritage. In: Beyond Forgetting: Coburg 2018, 27 - 28 July 2018, Coburg, Germany.

Official URL: https://www.beyond-forgetting.de/


‘Preguntando caminamos’ ‘ asking we walk’ is one of the core action strategies of the Zapatisto movement in Mexico. ‘There is no programme, no royal road to follow: the only way forward is the path we make by walking and we walk by asking’. In this walking arts practice walking and asking questions, walking and listening, walking and sense-ing, walking and attention become one. This is walking-with. The presentation offers an account of a walking-with project tracing the route of a nazi death march, transposed to England and then retraced in Germany. Forced Walks: Honouring Esther was a collaboration between the two artists, Richard White and Lorna Brunstein, working with the testimony of Lorna’s mother Esther Brunstein. Honouring Esther consisted of two, two-day walks, one in England, near the artists home, and one in Germany, into the Bergen Belsen Memorial. The project sought to bring a new life to survivor testimony to generate human rights resonances with regard to those who are coerced to walk for whatever reason and make contemporary connections with recently arrived refugees in Germany and England. The presentation raises questions, and offers for consideration a strategy for addressing, reluctant or dissonant heritage through walking-with. In Germany the project appeared to hold open a localised space for the reminiscence of individual experience of events during the Nazi era and attended to the rediscovery of locations and relics of that period obscured by the authorised heritage of the Holocaust and the post WW2 settlement. The presentation outlines and reviews this walking-with strategy, a participatory,co-creative approach in which second and third generations survivors walked with second and third generation witnesses, liberators and perpetrators. This working with archive and walker experience using social media tracked is performed on foot and online and manifested again in gallery installation. The corporeal experience of the walk is the starting point for a consideration of how memory, archive testimony and the embodied experience of walkers can combine to produce a new experience of intangible cultural heritage. The commentary is grounded in understandings drawn from new materialist writing on porous bodies reached through walking-with the living, survivor testimony and the spectral presence of those who were killed, those who were executed and those who died naturally.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: holocaust, walking arts, coerced walking, memory, intangible cultural heritage
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DD Germany
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Bath School of Art, Film and Media
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2018 10:40
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 19:36
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/11579
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