Place, Sense and the Performance of Memory

Devora Neumark & Léa Neumark-Gaudet

Festivals: M:ST 3 Festival October 7 - 31, 2005.

Not long after a fire devastated their Montreal home (ten years ago this coming November), Neumark and her daughter Léa were encouraged to travel to southern Alberta, and subsequently Lethbridge. Taking time to explore the land and visiting some traditional tourist spots along the way, the connection to the unique landscape was reinforced for Neumark (who had already visited southern Alberta on two previous occasions) and was introduced to her then nearly 5 year old daughter. “In what can only be considered as being in love with the universe,” recalls Neumark, “my daughter’s syncretistic experience has truly shaped her sense of place in ways that will likely resonate for the rest of her life.”

The approach to this performance in Lethbridge will be a retracing of Léa’s first journey into this singular landscape. Neumark and her daughter will explore the ways that childhood experiences influence our world-view, and how a sense of place is recalled in and through memory. In an artist statement, Neumark explains,” I have been concerned with questions of repetition and the consideration of reliving memory not as or from a place of loss, lack, even melancholy, but as an intuitive and conceptual creation of fresh configurations of being.” Neumark suggests that “performative interventions such as these, framed as they are as art can teach us, with the use of symbolic language, to bring flexibility to our memories. And with the authority of memory being such an integral element in revealing (to ourselves and to others) who we are and what we value, this transformative element is powerfully healing.”