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PPi Distinguished Speaker Event: Milija Gluhovic, Warwick
Small Acts of Repair: Violence, Mourning and Testimony in Lola Arias’s Theatre
Lecture Tuesday 21 November 6:30pm-8:00pm, Main Hall, International Politics;
Seminar Wednesday 22 November, 10:00am-12:00, IAH Meeting Room Hugh Owen
In this lecture I engage Lola Arias’s recent performances such as My Life After (Mi vida despues, 2009), Melancholy and Demonstrations (Melancolia y Manifestaciones, 2012) and Minefield (Campo Minado, 2016). Coming from Argentina – where some of the most important “memory works” have occurred, these works revisit the violence during Argentina’s “Dirty War” (1976-1983) and the 1982 Malvinas/Falklands War as well as the politics of melancholia in Argentina and the linkage between depression and political failure. Born in 1976, Arias is a leading representative of a younger generation of artists whose relationship to these historical experiences of the previous generation is by necessity mediated by temporal distance and cultural memory – encounters with historical, documentary, and fictional accounts of these conflicts as well as familial and/or collective repository of violent imagery and historical legacies transmitted from one generation to another. As I will show, remembering here is not simply a question of “expressing” inner, subjective feelings, or of retrieving a linear past, but rather of tracing one’s trajectory through a cultural space, a contemporary landscape of memory. Drawing on recent debates on oral history performance and testimony, mourning and melancholia, I will examine the aesthetics, ethics, and politics of these works. Ultimately, I argue that Arias’s work attests to the ongoing challenge of finding ways in which we can make past experiences of others proximate, rather than intimate, and thereby avoid repeating the violent dislocations that constitute such experiences.
Milija Gluhovic is Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Warwick. His research interests include: contemporary European theatre and performance; memory studies and psychoanalysis; discourses of European identity, migrations and human rights; religion, secularity, and politics; contemporary North American and North African theatre and performance, and international performance research and pedagogy.
His interest in memory and history has resulted in Performing European Memories: Trauma, Ethics, Politics (2013), which explores the intersections between contemporary European theatre and performance, the interdisciplinary field of memory studies, and current preoccupations with the politics of memory in Europe. The book examines the contradictions, specificities, continuities and discontinuities in the European shared and unshared pasts as represented in the works of Harold Pinter, Tadeusz Kantor, and Heiner Müller, Andrzej Wajda, Artur Zmijewski and other European artists, showing different ways in which they engage with the traumatic experiences of the Holocaust, the Stalinist Gulags, colonialism, and imperialism, challenge their audiences’ historical imagination, and renew their affective engagement with Europe’s past.