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Troubled Waters: Liquid Memory in the Wake of Disaster

Troubled Waters: Liquid Memory in the Wake of Disaster Lauren Ravalico Troubled Waters Liquid Memory in the Wake of Disaster Artists who undertake the commemoration of a disaster are faced with a dizzying array of aesthetic choices that affect how a calamitous tragedy will be tacked to the fabric of collective memory. This essay considers the strikingly similar implications of compositional and formal choices in two visual representations of disaster which, at first glance, bear no resemblance: Théodore Géricault’s 1819 tableau, The Raft of the Medusa [Le Radeau de la Méduse], and Michael Arad’s Reflecting Absence, a memorial to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in Lower Manhattan. Géricault’s Romantic painting (Figure 1) depicts a group of survivors of the shipwrecked Medusa, the frigate in a small fleet of warships that sailed from Rochefort, a port on France’s mid-­ tlantic coast, on June 17, 1816, and which ran aground on July 2 after striking a reef by a bank of shoals near the coast of Mauritania. The primary mission of the expedition was to reclaim from British occupation several territorial outposts in Senegal that French colonizers had originally established and which were returned to France as part http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Troubled Waters: Liquid Memory in the Wake of Disaster

The Comparatist , Volume 41 – Nov 1, 2017

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887
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Abstract

Lauren Ravalico Troubled Waters Liquid Memory in the Wake of Disaster Artists who undertake the commemoration of a disaster are faced with a dizzying array of aesthetic choices that affect how a calamitous tragedy will be tacked to the fabric of collective memory. This essay considers the strikingly similar implications of compositional and formal choices in two visual representations of disaster which, at first glance, bear no resemblance: Théodore Géricault’s 1819 tableau, The Raft of the Medusa [Le Radeau de la Méduse], and Michael Arad’s Reflecting Absence, a memorial to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in Lower Manhattan. Géricault’s Romantic painting (Figure 1) depicts a group of survivors of the shipwrecked Medusa, the frigate in a small fleet of warships that sailed from Rochefort, a port on France’s mid-­ tlantic coast, on June 17, 1816, and which ran aground on July 2 after striking a reef by a bank of shoals near the coast of Mauritania. The primary mission of the expedition was to reclaim from British occupation several territorial outposts in Senegal that French colonizers had originally established and which were returned to France as part

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 1, 2017

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