Inadvertent (re)collections: forgotten spaces / remembered objects

Grossman, Alyssa (2010) Inadvertent (re)collections: forgotten spaces / remembered objects. [Audio] (Unpublished)

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Recording of presentation given at Vital Signs 2 Conference, 7-9 September 2010, University of Manchester
Household collections and the material arrangements of private space are often studied for their relationship to practices and discourses of recollection. Yet as Bachelard (1958) observed, domestic interiors are not only carriers of memory, but also containers for things that have been forgotten. Lofts, cupboards, closets, and spaces under the bed may hold artefacts that have gathered over the course of many years, or that have been neglected for long periods of time.

My research has focused on remembrance work in post-socialist Bucharest, analysing how its inhabitants are evaluating the past, present, and future through everyday interactions and material practices. Rather than considering the deliberately commemorative properties of collected objects, I highlight their function as inadvertent accumulations that provoke unexpected recollections at particular moments in time.

This paper discusses three settings where I asked individuals to revisit the contents of private storage areas, to rummage through disused possessions, and to share with me the thoughts, reminiscences, and narratives that emerged through such encounters. I explore these neglected objects as points of rupture, sparking moments of Benjaminian “historical awakening,” and providing insights into contemporary perceptions of the past and future. While people’s memories often resonated with broader, collective experiences, they were also linked to individualised and idiosyncratic histories, dream-worlds, and imaginations. They contained more nuanced articulations than those conveyed by dominant memory discourses in Romania’s public sphere, highlighting the multiple, inconclusive, and inconsistent ways in which people are currently remembering the past.

Item Type: Audio
Uncontrolled Keywords: Realities, researching home and memory
Subjects: 4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.13 Visual Data Analysis
Depositing User: Realities user
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2010 11:41
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:53

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