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On Commemoration

Global Reflections upon Remembering War

Edited By Catherine Gilbert, Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro

How, in the twenty-first century, can we do commemoration better? In particular, how can commemoration contribute to post-war reconciliation and reconstruction? In this book, a global roster of distinguished writers, artists, musicians, religious leaders, military veterans and scholars debate these questions and ponder the future of commemoration. They include the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz, the award-winning novelists Aminatta Forna and Rachel Seiffert, and the human rights lawyer and Gifford Baillie Prize-winner Philippe Sands. Polemics and reflections together with poetry and creative prose movingly illuminate a subject that speaks to our common humanity.

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Hush (Susie Campbell)

Extract

susie campbell

‘Hush’ is another section from Susie Campbell’s Tenter.

It responds to two visits she made to the site of the Battle of Hastings (Figure 23): the first with her mother, who died just before the residency began, and the second to research the Bayeux Tapestry. The notebook list in ‘Hush’ is from a list in sculptor Rachael Whiteread’s 2012 notebook. The full list is as follows: Nothingness, Blank, Nil, Missing, Hollowness, Not a soul, Mirage, Moonshine, Null, Naked, Vapour, Melt, Dye (crossed out), Crack, Loom (crossed out), Frame and filled door (crossed out), Void, Hush hush, Shh, Sush (sic), Aetherial, Lull, Haze, Mist/fog, Glazed.



Figure 23. Hastings Battlefield (black and white) (Nilfanion, 1964, Wikimedia Commons).

A hill beneath and a filled-in door. This bench, its damp wooden flowers. A dead tree stripped clean and time fucking stops. You reach a corner of you are there.

You are there.

An edge of grief you can park in an empty tongue. The fields are empty.

That’s near enough.

You expect you have come here to honour the dead. An open field looks like battlefield words: gone, absent, missing. You come to hold it in memory but it becomes spongy underfoot.

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