Material Mnemonics and Mapped Narratives in Palestine/Israel

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Luisa GANDOLFO, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Since 1948 the re-designation of depopulated Palestinian villages as national parks has evoked Lippet’s ‘cartography of nowhere’, as ruins and unmarked sites are subsumed in the process of material forgetting. Standing as material mnemonics, the sites are physically present, yet absent from the state discourse as the villages become mise-en-abîmes and place and space is nested in competing narratives. Recently, technology has taken a role in remembrance as apps, such as iNakba, enable commemoration to transcend film and photography, providing a quasi-virtual experience that enables the traveller in 2015 to visit a site that bears few to no traces of the former inhabitants. Juxtaposing dual narratives and material mnemonics, this paper assumes the Palestinian villages of Deir Yassin, Suba, Kufr Birim and Iqrit as case studies to determine the extent to which memory infuses static sites with the ability to counter contemporary narratives. Finally, the paper explores the utilisation of mapping in the practice and sustenance of national memory, and questions how far ‘haunting’ the land through commemorative tours, mapping and in situ story-telling prompts the locations to stand as noeuds de mémoire, as opposed to lieux de mémoire.