This essay responds to Michael Bowman’s call for “performed memories” that challenge the production and reproduction of knowledge. The author performs memories of her changing relationship to the Patty Hearst archive in order to resist the postmodern knowledge that nostalgia is (1) uniform and (2) the enemy of progressive political action. The author animates feminist nostalgia for Patty Hearst in order to demonstrate that encounters between viewers and cultural images are an integral if little understood aspect of subject formation and the ongoing, uneven process of coming into historical consciousness. The author performs memories before the Patty Hearst archive in order to see what inventional options can be created from old pictures. In so doing, she hopes to challenge a theoretical image that circulates in postmodern cultural theory and criticism: the amnesiac viewer doomed by her lack of history and addiction to fashion, to political apathy and/or commercial cooptation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Literature and Literary Theory