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Necroperformance

Dorota Sajewska, Necroperformance: Cultural Reconstructions of the War Body, Diaphanes, Instytut Teatralny im. Zbigniewa Raszewskiego, Zurich, Warszawa 2019.

In Necroperformance, Dorata Sajewska proposes an innovative perspective for looking back at the formative process of Polish modernity, delving into repressed areas of experience connected with World War I and the ensuing emancipatory movements. Underpinning modern Polish nationhood, she reveals, is not only a Romantic myth of independence but also the up-close horrors of fratricidal warfare and the pacifist aspirations of those confronted with its violence.

Searching for traces of memory in precarious bodies inflicted with the violence of war, Necroperformance implores us to acknowledge the fragility of life as it actively reinforces an attitude of respect for the right to live. Sajewska constructs here an alternative culture archive, conjuring it from compoundly-mediatized historical remnants–bodies, documents, artworks, and cultural writings–that demand to be recognized in non-canonical reflection on our past. Her chief objective is to understand the social impact of remains and their place in culture, and by examining the body and corporality in artistic practices, social and cultural performances, she strives to identify both the fragmentariness of memory and the discontinuity of history, and finally, to reinstate the body’s (or its documental remains’) historical and political dimension.

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