History, memory and archives cannot be used interchangeably. Musique 400, an Annapolis valley group proud of their local history presented an uncontextualized, direct reading of a play by Champlain’s settlers in honour of Nouvelle France’s governor complete with 17th century attitudes. Unfortunately the group did not mention Matthieu da Costa either.

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Production of the original version mentined above was cancelled. This blog traces the journey of navigating on the fringe: “Sinking Neptune.” Thanks to Stan Kristiansen for providing me with the correct url for Optative Theatrical Laboratories. I’ve just updated the link and now I’m heading to the media page you suggested.

Here are some resources I developed over the last fifteen years on inclusive communal memory work particularly in terms of weaving strands of divergent views of the same time and space.

Joyce Murray department approved the use of the rich Gulf Island archaeological sites (DfRu-002) on Kuper Island for a daily discharge of suspended solids into the burial grounds of 700 ancestors. Syuhe’mun, “the Place to Catch Up,” is a site for the inter-generational sharing of tradition knowledge. Hume, S. (2005/01/30) Vancouver Sun.

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Sunburst during Blizzard

I really need to get outside and dig deep into my garden with my bare hands, pulling out weeds that are uprooted so easily in the good black earth. It is oddly calming for me.

I have learned too much technology this morning and I need to relax in the real physical world. There is nothing quite as physical as black earth under your finger nails. When I come back I want to consider the catalysts that led to my ongoing inquiries into the positive presence of absence, memory work, social exclusions, museology . . . Perhaps my inquiry is instantiated in the embodied Sarah Ekoomiak. I need to share what I have already gathered on her contributions but I cannot do this legitimately in the social sciences. So this will perhaps be in the form of a Flicktion. I will examine why in regards to these key words:

tarmac ethnology Sarah Ekoomiak Google News customized brain imagery Away Iqaluit airport Adobe Photoshop anthropology sociology cyberdelirium del.icio.us ethical topography of self everyday life Flicktion forgetting folksonomy taxonomy communal memory reconciliation RCAP geotagging Road to Nowhere hospitality qualia reflexivity methodology social sciences wikipedia

Aquarium Gaze

November 4, 2006

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This layered Adobe Photoshop image was inspired by a paragraph in Michael Ignatieff’s book entitled Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry. This was the book preferred by the adult students in the Human Rights course I taught at Nunavut Arctic College, Iqaluit, NU in 2002-3. Aquarium Gaze

“Here was a scientist, trained in the traditions of European rational inquiry, turning a meeting between two human beings into an encounter between different species. Progress may be a contested concept, but we make progress to the degree that we act upon the moral intuition that Dr. Pannwitz was wrong: our species is one, and each of the individuals who compose it is entitled to equal moral consideration. Human rights is the language that systematically embodies this intuition, and to the degree that this intuition gains influence over the conduct of individuals and states, we can say that are making moral progress.[…] Human rights was a response to Dr. Pannwitz, to the discovery of the abomination that could occur when the Westphalian state was accorded unlimited sovereignity, when citizens of that state lacked normative grounds to disobey legal but immoral orders. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights represented a return by the European tradition to its natural law heritage, a return intended to restore agency, to give individuals the civic courage to stand up when the state ordered them to do wrong.”(Ignatieff 2001)

My emerging folksonomy:

This linear page entitled Memory Work will be a site of collecting and sharing focused research on the urgently needed on the concept of memory work. This concept was developed by Ricoeur, Derrida, Cixous, Nora. It is urgently need in a postnational, post-WW II, post-apartheid, post-RCAP world where citizens move closer to reconciliation, towards forgiveness or apologies, while revisiting distorted histories with an attitude of mutual respect for Self and the Other-I.

Memory Work: Wikipedia

November 3, 2006

Memory work

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Memory work is a process of engaging with the past which has both an ethical and historical dimension (Gabriel 2004). The premise for memory work or travail de memoire is that history is not memory. We try to represent the past in the present through memory, history and the archives. As Ricoeur (1955 [1965], 2000) argued, memory alone is fallible. Historical accounts are always partial and potentially misrepresent since historians do not work with bare, uninterpreted facts. Historians construct and use archives that contain traces of the past. However, historians and librarians determine which traces are preserved and stored. This is an interpretive activity. Historians pose questions to which the archives responds leading them to “facts that can be asserted in singular, discrete propositions that usually include dates, places, proper names, and verbs of action or condition” (Ricoeur 2000:226). Individuals remember events and experiences some of which they share with a collective. Through mutual reconstruction and recounting collective memory is reconstructed. Individuals are born into familial discourse which already provides a backdrop of communal memories against which individual memories are shaped. A group’s communal memory becomes its common knowledge which creates a social bond, a sense of belonging and identity. Professional historians attempt to corroborate, correct, or refute collective memory. Memory work then entails adding an ethical component which acknowledges the responsibility towards revisiting distorted histories thereby decreasing the risk of social exclusion and increasing the possibility of social cohesion of at-risk groups.

The concept of memory-work as distinguished from history-as-memory finds a textbook case in the Vichy Syndrome as described by Russo (1991). His title uses medical lexicon to refer to history-memory as dependent on working consciously with unconscious memories to revise accounts of history. This calls for an expanded archive that includes the “oral and popular tradition” (Gabriel 2004:11) as well as the written traditions normally associated with the archives.

Nora (2002) traced the surge in memory work at the level of the nation-state to the revisiting of distorted histories of the anti-Semitic Vichy regime (1940-1944) following the death of de Gaulle in 1970. Structural changes resulted from the end of the peasantry and the dramatic economic slump as oil prices worldwide rose in 1974. Added to this was the intellectual collapse of Marxism precipitated in part by Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago which forced the French to rethink attitudes towards the past.

Gabriel (2004) provided a model for reading the complexities of memory and forgetting by situating unheimlich within the heimlich, in a Freudian ‘one within the other structure’. As point of departure Gabriel examined Edgar Reitz’s eleven-part West German television series entitled Heimat. Reitz’ work was in response to a larger movement in Germany national memory work provoked in part by an American television series entitled the Holocaust followed viewed by millions. As European art in general and German art in particular resurged in the 1960s, artists like Gunther Grass and Edgar Reitz captured international attention as they grappled with issues of identity in a divided, post-Holocaust Germany. Gabriel developed the concept of an impulse towards national memory work in Germany that stemmed from a haunted subject yearning for a lost, far away, nostalgic place, a utopic homeland. “How do we confront that which we have excluded in order to be, whether it is the return of the repressed or the return of the strangers?” (Kristeva 1982). In other words, that which we fear as ‘other’ is within ourselves through our shared humanity. Repressed memories haunt all of us.

The concept of memory work is part of a sociological imagination from a post-national point of view. Expanding on Norbert Loeffler: The idea of one national history is only acceptable as a question, not as an answer.

Memory work is related to identity work often associated with displaced persons. Some of the most provocative research on memory work (Derrida, Cixous, Kristeva) has been authored by French ex-patriots who returned to France following the Algerian war of independence.
Oceanflynn 06:39, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
References:

Cixous, Hélene. 1997. Rootprints: Memory and Life Writing: Routledge

Derrida, Jacques. 1996. Archive Fever. Translated by E. Prenowitz. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Derrida, Jacques. (1986) Memoires for Paul de Man, Columbia University Press.

Gabriel, Barbara. 2004. “The Unbearable Strangeness of Being; Edgar Reitz’s Heimat and the Ethics of the Unheimlich” in Postmodernism and the Ethical Subject, edited by B. Gabriel and S. Ilcan. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Kristeva, Julia. 1982. Powers of Horror. New York: University Press.

Kristeva, Julie (1993) Nations without Nationalism, trans. L. S. Roudiez (Yale University Press, 1993)

Nora, Pierre. 2002. “The Reasons for the Current Upsurge in Memory.” Tr@nsit-Virtuelles Forum.22 Retrieved Access 2002. http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2002-04-19-nora-en.html

Ricoeur, Paul. 1955 [1965]. History and Truth. Translated by C. A. Kelbley. Evanston: Northwestern University press.

Ricoeur, Paul. 2000. La Mémoire, l’Historie, l’Oubli: l’ordre philosophique: Éditions du Seuil. http://www.theology.ie/thinkers/RicoeurMem.htm

Russo, Henry. 1991. The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France since 1944. Translated by A. Goldhammer. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.

I write using EndNote so this was the original entry I had added for Barbara Gabriel whose article opened so many doors for me:

In her brilliant article entitled “The Unbearable Strangeness of Being; Edgar Reitz’s Heimat and the Ethics of the Unheimlich” Barbara Gabriel provides a model for reading the complexities of memory and forgetting. As point of departure Gabriel examined Edgar Reitz’s eleven-part West German television series entitled Heimat. Reitz’ work was in response to a larger movement in Germany national memory-work provoked in part by an American television series entitled the Holocaust followed viewed by millions.

In the section entitled “Tropes of Purity and Danger”Barbara Gabriel (2004:165, 197) illustrated how a model of homogeneity depends on a constituent outside. In this essay Gabriel revealed how the concept of heimat resists interpretation. Freud situated the unheimlich within the heimlich, one within the other structure. Freud argued that the heimlich and unheimlich are doubles, not antimonies or opposites which slip and slide inside one another through different shades of meanings explored through Freudian recurrence and return, the haunted house, the double, death and the death drive, enucleation as castration, the prostitute and the primordial uncanny as maternal womb. which a closed meaning so that the haunted subject can continue to yearn for the lost, far away, nostalgic place keep the potential of a utopic homeland footnotes the way in which Kristeva (1982) introduced a diachronic register by mapping theory onto historical subjects. Kristeva created a synthesis between the work of Bataille and Mary Douglas. Douglas’s symbolic anthropological approach resisted the diachronic. Models of homogeneity depend on a constituent outside.

“Recent cultural theory around abjection moves deconstruction as well as psychoanalytic readings around the relationship between insides and outsides onto the category of social subjects (see Butler [1990, 1993]). Kristeva’s (1982) own analyses bring together the work of Mary Douglas and Bataille; what is new here, arguably, is the mapping of the theory onto the domain of historical subjects, shifting the synchronic work of anthropology into a diachronic register in ways ignored by Douglas’s pioneering work. I am indebted to Matti Bunzi for the insight that symbolic anthropology was long resistant to historical frameworks.”
“How do we confront that which we have excluded in order to be, whether it is the return of the repressed or the return of the stangers?” Cited in Gabriel, Barbara 2004

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This astounding high resolution image of this painting, Habib Allah (c.1600) “The Concourse of the Birds” is available courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is an illustration of the Persian mystic, Faridu’ud-Din Attar’s allegory (c.1100?) “The Conference of the Birds” which I believe is also called Mantiqu’t-Tayr Language of the Birds. This work may have inspired Herman Hesse’s “Journey to the East.” It describes the seeker’s parallel journey to self-discovery, self-actualization, self-realization through the elusive search for God.

Tag clouds, Head in the Clouds, Love and Cyberdelirium

Attar is said to have met Jalálu’d-Dín Rúmí (1207-1273 A.D.) when the latter was still a child enkindling (sp.) him with the insatiable longing for the illusive and unknowable divine essence of all things. (I believe both these Persian mystics, who of course had great impact on Persian literature, also influenced European writers such as the German Romantic poets? Their work is important to me in terms of its philosophical, political and ethical implications during the period of colonization. But that’s another tag cloud.)

Note the line in Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) comparing the advance of the army of celestial angels to the flight of all species of earthly birds flying over Eden to receive their names from the Creator. (This is from “The Argument,” “Sixth Book,” Paradise Lost in Paradise Lost and Regained, by John Milton, [1667 and 1671], at sacred-texts.com

“Ethereal trumpet from on high gan blow.
At which command the Powers Militant
That stood for Heaven, in mighty quadrate joined
Of union irresistible, moved on
In silence their bright legions to the sound
Of instrumental harmony, that breathed
Heroic ardour to adventurous deeds
Under their godlike leaders, in the cause
Of God and his Messiah. On they move,
Indissolubly firm; nor obvious hill,
Nor straitening vale, nor wood, nor stream, divides
Their perfect ranks; for high above the ground
Their march was, and the passive air upbore
Their nimble tread. As when the total kind
Of birds, in orderly array on wing,
Came summoned over Eden to receive
Their names of thee; so over many a tract
Of Heaven they marched, and many a province wide,
Tenfold the length of this terrene.”

I actually began my search this morning looking for 100 ways to say “love” in Arabic. This Sunday we will be enlarging our Irish-English-French family to include a beautiful, beloved West Coast daughter through marriage. So along with nurturing the largest sink load of unwashed dishes we’ve had in a while, I’m collecting words that refer to ways of loving. The physical painting I began for them is not going well. I thought I could use some inspiration. Although her family is Persian, I believe that until the last century (?) Persian poets used classical? or pure? Arabic as well as classical? or pure? Farsi. And I know she and I share a deep love for the Seven Valleys Haft-Vádí (1860). The Seven Valleys includes references and/or citations from Attar, Rúmí and Layla and Majnun.
According to Wikipedia, Kurdish poet Nezami (1100s?)’s famous adaptation of the story of Layla and Majnun (Leyli and Madjnun) from Arab folklore reads astonishingly like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I believe that Layla and Majnin are to the East what Romeo and Juliet are to the West? There is even a suggestion that Eric Clapton’s song Layla was inspired by this Arab-Persian-Turkish-Kurd classic.

In my search for 100 words in Arabic for love, I found this site (dairy products? – this I hope is wholesomely apolitical) and I selected these names:

Feminine names in Arabic referring to love
  • ‘Arub, Aroob – Loving to her husband
  • Dalal – Treated or touched in a kind and loving way
  • Dhakirah – One who remembers God frequently
  • Gharam – Love
  • Ghazal – Flirt, words of love
  • Ghaliyah, Ghaaliya – Dear, beloved, fragrant, expensive
  • Habibah, Habeeba – Beloved, sweetheart, darling; a wife of the Prophet
  • Hanan – Mercy; affectionate, loving, tender
  • Hayam, Hayaam – Deliriously in love
  • Hiyam – Love
  • Jawa – Passion, love
  • Kalila – Sweetheart, beloved
  • Mahabbah – Love, affection
  • Mahbubah – Beloved
  • Mawaddah – Affection, love, friendliness
  • Muhibbah – Loving
  • Wid – Loving, affectionate
  • Wisal, Wisaal – Reunion, being together, communion in love
  • Widad, Widaad – Love, friendship
Masculine Names in Arabic referring to love
  • Da’ud, Dawud – Beloved; a Prophet’s name (David)
  • Habbab – Affable, lovable
  • Hamim – Intimate, close friend
  • Kadeen, Kadin – Friend, companion, confidant
  • Kahil – Friend, lover
  • Kamil, Kameel – Perfect; one of the ninety-nine qualities of God
  • Khalil, Khaleel, Kalil – Beautiful, good friend
  • Mahbub – Beloved, dear
  • Muhibb – Loving
  • Khalil al Allah – Friend of God; title given to Prophet Ibrahim
  • Habib – Beloved
  • Safiy – Best friend
  • Wajdi – Of strong emotion, passion and love
My Favourite citations-within-citations from Seven Valleys – Haft-Vádí (1860)

In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea.

Split the atom’s heart, and lo! Within it thou wilt find a sun.

From the Wikipedia entry on Seven Valleys – Haft-Vádí (1860)

the path of the soul on a spiritual journey passing through different stages, from this world to other realms which are closer to God,[1] as first described by the 12th Century Sufi poet Attar in his Conference of the Birds. Bahá’u’lláh in the work explains the meanings and the significance of the seven stages. In the introduction, Bahá’u’lláh says “Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities.” The stages are accomplished in order, and the goal of the journey is to follow “the Right Path”, “abandon the drop of life and come to the sea of the Life-Bestower”, and “gaze on the Beloved”.

The following paragraph from a translation of “The Conference of the Birds: Farid ud-din Attar” translated by Afham Darbandi and Dick Davis. London: Penguin, 1984 (~1177), also mentions the seven valleys.

“The allegorical framework of the poem is as follows: the birds of the world gather together to seek a king. They are told by the hoopoe that they have a king — the Simorgh — but that he lives far away and the journey to him is hazardous. The birds are at first enthusiastic to begin their search, but when they realize how difficult the journey will be they start to make excuses. The nightingale, for example, cannot leave his beloved; the hawk is satisfied with his position at court waiting on earthly kings; the finch is too afraid even to set out, and so on. The hoopoe counters each of their excuses with anecdotes which show how their desires and fears are mistaken. The group flies a little way, formally adopts the hoopoe as its leader, and then decides to ask a series of questions about the Way before proceeding. These questions are also answered by illustrative anecdotes. The last question is about the length of the journey, and in answer the hoopoe describes the seven valleys of the Way. The journey itself is quickly dealt with and the birds arrive at the court of the Simorgh. At first they are turned back; but they are finally admitted and find that the Simorgh they have sought is none other than themselves. The moment depends on a pun — only thirty (si) birds (morgh) are left at the end of the Way, and the si morgh meet the Simorgh, the goal of their quest. Though Attar treats his material in an entirely different way from Sana’i, it is possible that a shorter poem of Sana’i suggested the device of the birds to him. In Sana’i’s Divan there is a poem in which the different cries of the birds are interpreted as the birds’ ways of calling on or praising God. A second source may have been Kalila and Dimna. This extraordinary popular work, also called The Fables of Bidpai, originated in India and was translated into many languages. The Persian texts of Kalila and Dimna which survie are relatively late prose versions, but Rudaki, who lived early in the tenth century and was one of the first poets to write in Persian, made a verse translation of the work, which Attar could have known. Significantly enough, Rudaki used the same couplet form as Attar was later to use for The Conference of the Birds; but a direct influence is impossible to prove, because all but a few fragments of Rudaki’s poem have been lost. In Kalila and Dimna animals talk and act as humans; the fables usually have a moral point to them, and their narratives are allegories of human characteristics and failings. This is precisely the method of Attar’s Conference of the Birds, and the two works also show a similar kind of folksy humour. Another work which probably influenced Attar when he came to write his poem is the short Arabic treatise The Bird by Avicenna. This is the first-person narrative of a bird (clearly representing the human soul) who is freed from a cage by other birds, and then flies off with his new companions on a journey to the “Great King”. The group flies over eight high mountain peaks before reaching the king’s court; there are a few moments when Attar seems to echo Avicenna’s imagery (For an in-depth paper on The Conference of the Birds see this 1984 publication entitled “The Conference of the Birds: Farid ud-din Attar” translated by Afham Darbandi and Dick Davis. London: Penguin, 1984 (~1177). ).

[The con”
For an in-depth paper on The Conference of the Birds see “The Conference of the Birds: Farid ud-din Attar” translated by Afham Darbandi and Dick Davis. London: Penguin, 1984 (~1177).


Creative Commons

Creative Commons from my online Flickr album is composed of multiple layers. They include a .jpg of the Google Earth generated globe which is inverted, stretched and manipulated in 3 other layers, ripples from an M. C. Escher print and a stunning photo by a Professor Andrew Davidhazy from Rochester, NY. described on a few of the 80, 000+ references to him on Google as modest, talented, a great teacher and a ghost expert for photography. I have just licensed my work on line with the Creative Commons. Their icon lets people know that they can use your work for non-commercial reasons if they attribute it to you; they can make derivatives but they have to share-alike. Of course the challenge with Goggle Images is some of the most stellar images available are difficult to track down in terms of authorship because there are already so many derivatives. This was the case with this drop of water by this well-known professor who continues to do astounding work. I left a comment on his web blog but I re-entered it three times before I realized he had wisely included an administrator’s block for unedited entries. It may take him ages to even check his comments. When he does he will find to his annoyance in his busy life, that I’ve inadvertently left three. More than that I just emailed him instead of Flckr’s team re: emailing our Flickr photos to WordPress. He is going to put me on his ‘block permanently list.’

An Inuit friend reminded me that many Inuit of Canada view the world from a circumpolar point of view. In honour of my Inuit friends and students from time to time I view the earth through their lens. I positioned then froze the globe from a circumpolar point of view using a Google save screen option. So I have geotagged this to the north east of Baffin Island, perhaps somewhere near Pond Inlet. Hello to the family of Julia and Ernie! Their family photo in their traditional clothing taken when they visited you in Pond Inlet in 2005, is framed and hanging in our home on Vancouver Island.