The Generation of Postmemory

The guardianship of the Holocaust is being passed on to us. The second generation is the hinge generation in which received, transferred knowledge of events is being transmuted into history, or into myth. It is also the generation in which we can think about certain questions arising from the Shoah with a sense of living connection.

- Eva Hoffman, After Such Knowledge.

The ’1974′ dress

The ’1974′ dress (Alexia Makridou, 2014)

“Children of those directly affected by collective trauma inherit a horrific, unknown and unknowable past that their parents were not meant to survive. Second-generation fiction, art, memoir, and testimony are shaped by the attempt to represent the long-term effects of living in close proximity to the pain, depression, and dissociation of persons who have witnessed and survived massive historical trauma. They are shaped by the child’s confusion and responsibility, by a desire to repair, and by the consciousness that her own existence may well be a form of compensation for unspeakable loss. Loss of family, home, of a sense of belonging and safety in the world ‘bleed’ from one generation to the other”.

- Marianne Hirsch, Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust, p.34.

‘The Brain is the Body’

According to research on the topic of ‘How the mind works’ by Dr Day Ruth, ”’there is a thread that closely connects the medical cognition (how doctors and patients understand and remember information), courtroom cognition (how judges and juries understand laws) and memory for dance.

'Out of your Life', Alexia Makridou, 2012.

Dr Day’s findings indicate that, ‘modern dance is especially hard to remember because of its potentially infinite range of motion. Unlike ballet or other classical forms, modern lacks defaults and agreed-upon names for steps. Dancers overcome this in various ways — by using words (naming steps or using rhythmic non-words), mental images or kinesthetic feeling (memorizing a motion pathway). Day found, further, that companies share ways to remember, and dancers will be more successful if they are able to remember in the same way as their company. For example, if the company calls one movement “Y arms” (or doesn’t give it a name, as the Cunningham company did not), but you call it “salutation,” you’re apt to add an emotional quality the choreography doesn’t call for (Source).

Moreover, Erin Reck, a dancer and choreographer, delicately traces lines on her body that follow the pathways of the human nervous system. A keen interest in recent brain research informs Reck’s dancing “There is no brain/body separation”, she says. “The brain is the body. Who better to understand this than dancers?" (Source)