Public Reading as Re-Membering

A public intervention in collaboration with M4F artist in residence Aida Šehović

In Public Reading as Re-Memembering M4F organized and performed a collective gesture of remembrance, creating presence as antidote to absence and willful forgetting. Drawing inspiration from our artist in residence Aida Šehović, and the nomadic monument ŠTO TE NEMA, we collaborated in developing lists of people killed in acts of racialized, systematic violence, and remembered them through public reading. This collective, repetitive, rhythmic, reading intended to bring our public closer to something they/we ignore, overlook, and don’t want to see, hear, confront, or understand.

The Public Reading was held outside of our university library, our center of knowledge production, inviting the campus community into this act of empathy, solidarity and resistance. Readings remembered people who have been killed in the following contexts of systematic violence:

The 1995 Srebrenica Genocide

Selection of Srebrenica Genocide victims whose first names begin with the letter A

Missouri Lynchings: 1877-1960

Names of victims of racial terror lynchings in Missouri between 1877 and 1960

‘Falsos Positivos’

Selected murders and forced disappearances presented as combat casualties by state agents between January 2007 and August 2008 in the Catatumbo Region of Columbia

We Charge Genocide

Names and places of lethal violence identified in the petition We Charge Genocide, submitted by the Civil Rights Congress (US) to the United Nations in 1951

Deaths in U.S. Immigrant Detention

Names and places of origin of detainees who have died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities, 2018-2021

Police Killings and Jail Deaths in St. Louis

First names of people killed by police or who died in jails in St. Louis, Missouri, 2009-2019

Hostile Terrain 94

Selected names of migrants who died trying cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019

Woven Remembrance of Pogroms in the U.S. and Ukraine, 1917-1922

Places in the U.S. that were sites of mass racial violence from 1917-1922, interwoven with places that were sites of pogroms in Ukraine during the same period (1918-1921)