Trauma, Social Memory through Art as a Medium

Michael Saechao 


Chapter Three in the Machida book was very interesting. I am not sure what I had read to be quite honest, but I do look forward to discussing this in class. In the introduction she states that social memory is constituted of a collective and personal stories that are intertwined. I find this to be very true because what we constitute through a social memory is a collective of everyone’s memories, but there is also the input of your own personal memories that deem it a social memory, because it is made up of those made up of your own and the histories of others. One of the ways in which we see social memory is through the heightened urgency from people’s histories that have been inscribed by loss or impactful disruptions.
This chapter speaks about three different Artists and how they are seeking to engage others, the artists addresses the problem due to psychological and social damage through a mobilization of their memories from the community and other groups that have also suffered throughout the process. One of the artists is Kristine Aono a Japanese American whom focuses on the Japanese internment camps and how to showcase the tragedies inflicted on the Japanese-American citizens. She visually reconstructs her artwork or settings to captivate what was seen in the internment camps, but in a modern day view. From the book the author states,“Aono deploys a nonfigurative visual vocabulary and references to sites of Japanese American habitation as a way to speak to issues of heritage and identity marked by loss and retrieval.” This quote clarifies that she is trying to showcase through her artwork the land in which the first and second generation Japanese American’s had to endure during these internment camps. She likes to focus on the ideal of keeping and preserving the lost heritage.

I did really enjoy the readings that I did read even though I might have not comprehended it as thoroughly, but I could relate to the other. My parent’s are refugees from the highlands of Laos, and to me, I am a strong believer of preserving culture, because once the generation of the parent’s are gone, the culture starts to die also. I am looking forward to discussing in this in class because I was still confused on some of the things in the introduction. 


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