Paths, Palimpsests and Voids of Dé kolon εl í za shɔn - Memorials and Memorial Cultures - Based on Examples/Voids in Sierra Leone_ and Germany_- A Path, Detours and [Proposal]-Essay in Notes and Images

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Paths, Palimpsests and Voids of Dé kolon εl í za shɔn - Memorials and Memorial Cultures - Based on Examples/Voids in Sierra Leone_ and Germany_- A Path, Detours and [Proposal]-Essay in Notes and Images

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title Paths, Palimpsests and Voids of Dé kolon εl í za shɔn - Memorials and Memorial Cultures - Based on Examples/Voids in Sierra Leone_ and Germany_- A Path, Detours and [Proposal]-Essay in Notes and Images
Author(s) Hohenbild, Sonja
Date 2014
English abstract
This essay attempts to discuss the decolonial memorialscape in Germany and Sierra Leone, bringing into focus the few existing examples. Coming from the visual arts, my wish is to bring art-practice into the communication for development feld. This means allowing associations, emotions and subjective observations to be part of the research on memorial-cultures, understanding images and layout as integral parts of a political-aesthetic thesis. The examples from Germany and Sierra Leone are not only understood in their national frameworks, but rather in their un/common coloniality. The essay explores at frst the material world of colonial-critical memorials, an undertaking that I deemed to be achievable in view of the limited number of memorials both countries have. The research feld is still very complex and therefore the essay itself is a condensed and fragmented frst step along peripheral paths. Listening to voices from Freetown as well as observing activities around a memorial in the German city of Bremen helped me gain an enlarged understanding of memorials. Communication aspects and performative approaches surrounding a sculptural form are able to give memorials living and discursive dimensions. The hypothesis that memorials could be helpful for the decolonialization of colonizing – as well as colonized - societies could not be fully answered as the examples described all have their weaknesses. If immaterial, sometimes ephemeral forms like writings, theatre, activism and spiritual ceremonies are included in the memorialscape, the answer is clearly positive, even though the majority in Germany would not be reached by these actions. In contrast to Germany, in Sierra Leone I found a millieux de mémoire (Pierre Nora) which might not be that active in the defnition of Aleida Assmann, but which, with the empowering impacts of the West African concept of Sankofa, is able to create creole realms of memory. Besides the image of the path along the fragmented, multilingual Dékolonεlízashɔn process, different bodies of water became powerful imaginations for decolonial memorials, connecting different times and places. The element of water itself is a palimpsest and at the same time an unchanging Mahnmal. A Mahnmal which is absent from the collective memory (Maurice Halbwachs) in Germany and can therefore be perceived as a void – unlike in the collective memory-culture of The Black Atlantic (Paul Gilroy). With reference to the examples described and analyzed, proposals are included and put forward for discussion.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 54
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Decolonial
Memorial Cultures
Coloniality Sierra Leone / Germany
Sankofa
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/17173 (link to this page)

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