Within Unit Five, we were told to read works by two authors: Schneider and Birns.
In Schneider’s writing, a belief was expressed that it is primitivism and racism that coincide with performance as a method to preserve history was difficult to comprehend. To think racism contributes to this thought process seems unpopular but makes sense as a way through which people have begun to realize performance as a powerful preservation tool. Schneider highlighted this belief by stating “clearly concatenations of primitivism and attendant racisms attach, in turn, to attempts to acknowledge performance as an appropriate means of remaining, of remembering” (102).
After finishing the reading, I began to question the following: Does performance studies validate memory as a means of preservation? Or does it simply provide a skeleton for historicizing the unattainable? The statement made by Schneider that sparked the line of question was “if performance is not the presence of “remains” but rather the “missed encounter, […the] reverberations of the overlooked, the missed, the repressed, [and] the seemingly forgotten” (104).
In Birns’ writing, the concept expressed was that without a critical eye and the belief that each reapplication to a subject or event is an “iteration,” we risk falling into complacency in relation to the established beliefs of the past. Birns highlighted this belief by stating “the ultra-historicism of official memorials make us assume that the past is finished, when we still have the power to construct it” (22).
After finishing the reading, I began to question the following: What is a performative idiom? The statement made by Birns that sparked the line of question was “in Tree, he conjures a performative idiom literate in many languages, musical and gestural, Western and non-Western” (18).