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Sally Clark
Binh Danh
Ian Everard
James Fee
Shelby Graham
Hanna Hannah
Robin Kandel
Aaron Kerner
Elyse Koren-Camarra
Keith Muscutt
Katsushige Nakahashi
Rebecca Ramos
Hideki Shiozawa
Robynn Smith
Kenji Yanobe
 
Elyse Koren-Camarra

Why are certain sites that witnessed horrific clashes restored, reclaimed, rehabilitated after the conflict, whereas others exhibit monuments or even leave the ruins of war as testaments? How do we mark a site that is charged with history? When Christian Boltanksi was approached to make a Holocaust memorial he responded by saying that such a project should be fragile; something that would need to reconstructed every week. For him concrete moments ensure that memories fade, that they become calcified, rigid, detached from the present context; in short, monuments might serve as token markers to historical episodes, but they often bear no, or very little, relevance to us now. Monuments mark moments in the past, but say little to our current condition. The erasure of memory implicitly weaves it way through the very material of Elyse Koren-Camarra's work. The materiality of her work is, as Boltanski suggests, fragile. It is not so much that she uses materials that potentially tear, tatter or fray, but that her primary medium is human memory and this, despite our most vigilant efforts, seems to be the most fragile element of all.

Her kimono, for example, which she has consciously decided to leave 'unfinished' evokes numerous questions. Because it is unfinished we get the sense that it has been abandon prematurely. Why? What happened to its seamstress or tailor? What about who it was intended for? Did they - or its maker - evaporate in the atomic blast? Were they suffocated by the firestorm in Tokyo? Or does it pertain more to domestic affairs; that is, was its perceived maker interned, suddenly commanded to sell all their possessions and ordered relocate to camps? The dead cannot remember, and those who lived through it cannot forget; but we are commanded to never forget. How can we never forget, when we weren't there? We cannot truly comprehend the full of horrors of the Twentieth Century's wars. And when faced with the true horrors of it (accounts from our parents, grandparents) we might view them as antiquated, as evidence of a barbaric past; something that we have transcended, have overcome, risen above, that we are no longer capable of such acts of brutality. The sense of dislocation present in Koren-Camarra's work - the gaps in time, space, and memory - do not command us to never forget per se, but rather, like an X-ray, illustrates the fragility of memory; the fractures in memory that might have 'healed-over' but question the continuity of history.


 
 
 

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Koren-Camarra Cities

 Japanese Leaflet