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The Poetic Reactivation of Historical Time: Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s Where is Where?

Walsh, Maria (2014) The Poetic Reactivation of Historical Time: Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s Where is Where? Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ), 3 (2). pp. 150-161. ISSN 2045-6298

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Walsh, Maria

In this article, I argue that Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s techniques of narration in her six-screen film installation Where is Where? (2008) generate an affective, lived relation to historical time that counters its reduction in contemporary news media to a series of easily consumed and forgotten instants. Ahtila’s multi-screen film, based in part on Frantz Fanon’s account of the murder by two Algerian boys of their European playmate as revenge for the massacre of Meftah in 1956 during the Algerian War, conjures a different kind of remembering and embodying of historical events. To elaborate this claim, I perform a rereading of Guy Debord’s concept of historical time and argue that Ahtila’s work orchestrates an image of historical time transformed into ‘use’ rather than collected in the archive. This form of time, which incorporates historical agency and cyclical temporalities, connects with Julia Kristeva’s concept of ‘women’s time’ as well as Irish poet Eavan Boland’s writing on history and the past in relation to oppression, colonialism and violence. Film examples looked at include Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959) and I consider Maya Deren’s notion of the poetic in film. Through an evocation of the ‘vertical register’ of the latter, Where is Where? shows us the incommensurability of war crime and trauma as well as the necessity to forge a relation to this incommensurability.

Official Website: http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Article,id=19858/
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Intellect
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: December 2014
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1386/miraj.3.2.150_1
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2016 14:09
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2016 14:09
Item ID: 9867
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/9867

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