For my Global Studies capstone in Fall 2019, I researched two performance collectives, Yuyachkani and Soil, with the question: How does their work embody social memory of violence through performance?
Here's a web-friendly excerpt from my (29-page) paper:
If the act of remembering occurs relationally (within evolving social contexts), then imbalanced power dynamics bear violent implications for communities whose memory of trauma is at risk of erasure.
Performance works against this erasure by embodying the social memory of marginalized communities. Two examples are Yuyachkani, a Peruvian theatre collective, and Soil, a dance collective formed in the Southeast Asian diaspora in the United States.
Yuyachkani means “I am remembering” or “I am thinking” in Quechua; while the name Soil gestures towards one's roots in the past.
Both collectives draw deeply from the trauma of intense violence during the late 20th century: the massacres in Peru during the Shining Path war, and the Cambodian Genocide.
Studying the embodiment of social memory leads to an understanding of how performance offers a space for communities to reflect upon and affirm their memories of violence and its impact on their identities.
Special thanks to Professor John Soluri for his guidance on my capstone.
Thanks also to the Carnegie Mellon Office of Admissions for a quick feature of my research!
Despite not loving the challenges of academic research, I am so grateful to have learned about Yuyachkani and Soil.
As an artist, I'm inspired by how their work embraces the realities of their communities, but also imagines futures & alternative realities beyond them.