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Art and Alternative Media

October 19, 2011

Dear Art and Alternative Media Class,

You should feel free to post your comments here or under any other category/post . Sade, you may want to read through the previous exchanges on trauma; Jordan, I believe you will find discussions which touch on empathy to be relevant to your project; Chris, as we discussed, this site would be an appropriate forum to hold  a conversation or actual exchange of stories between Koreans and Japanese concerning Dodko.

Best wishes,


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ali Cashman permalink
    October 31, 2011 1:54 pm

    After reading Exchanging Memories: Between Poetics ad Ethics, I saw how successful Tolle was in building a narrative. Tolle transplanted a landscape from Ireland to New York City. This type of installation does not mimic other memorials that are made to reference a tragedy; this memorial actually brings the tragedy to the people. By doing this, Tolle is forcing the viewer to confront the past and recall the narrative of the Irish famine. Tolle also makes the installation interactive, which further incorporates the viewer and takes his narrative even further. Two themes that seem prevalent in this installation are time and place. Tolle emphasizes the feelings of non-place and displacement when he transports the Irish cottage and puts in an overwhelming urban environment. He also emphasizes time because of the old, decrepit cottage and natural materials he uses. The flora is not permanent and will change with time just as the cottage has been worn down over time. This references the victims of famine along with the land they so depended on. I think Tolle created a very successful and complex memorial because he is able to create a narrative that is the undercurrent of the whole piece.

  2. Jordan Ball permalink
    November 1, 2011 5:38 pm

    In reading the excerpt I found this particularly intriguing:

    Ethic narrative hospitality: involves “taking responsibility in imagination and in sympathy for the story of the other, through the life narratives which concern the other.” 13 In the case of memorials like Tolle’s this takes the form of an exchange between different people’s histories such that we practice an art of transference and translation, which allows us to welcome the story of the other, the stranger, the victim, the forgotten one.

    I like the idea that narrative is what brings cultures together whether through art or language. Tolle is able to successfully transfer the tragedy of Irish famine and translate it through time and place (as Ali said) to a very different New York City. It is an extending of sympathy to the event and an invitation to the audience to experience a surrounding that might otherwise remain foreign to them forever. It is the materials I think that really makes this project effective. As we discussed in class with the disappearing chairs installation, change is necessary to make a memory, and memory makes a more effective memorial. Tolle also uses that idea here, and it is even more personal. As the audience interacts with the work, they create a memory of personal experience of physicality and emotional reaction (as opposed to just viewing it from afar). This way, “the other, the stranger, the victim, the forgotten one” cannot be ignored or forgotten because new, different memories of the tragedy are constantly created.

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