Oral History

When reading Della Pollock’s Oral History Performance, the point that stuck out to me most was regarded the way performance evokes real possibilities.  Oral history performances come from the remembrance of witnesses and/or audience members who have experienced (told or taken part in) historical events.  Pollock explains this phenomenon as “the peculiar temporality of the representational real: an engine embedded in historical time, it invokes the beyond time of possibility, making possibility real or at least staking the grounds of real possibilities” (7).  This point can be broken down into a chain reaction.  A historical event leads to performances which then results in possibilities for the future.  The article gives the example of a small southern town shifting from the historically segregated past to the desegregated future.

This also reminds me of the Boal reading from last week.  The prisoners performed their personal stories for an audience.  The performances evoked a new understanding of the potential and possibilities these inmates had for their future.

A current event that we have been talking about a lot in class is the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.  This event ties into the reading and the major point of performances evoking real possibilities.  The historical event is tagged as the corporate greed, economic inequality, and corruption of the government.  The protestors of Wall Street which have also spread to many other occupiers across the country represent the performances.  From these performances, the occupiers are hoping to see change and possibility for the future.

This video gives a glimpse of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and what they are doing in hopes to change the future.  One point of the video shows a sign that says “The Beginning is Near” which I think ties closely to the idea that performance creates possibilities.


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