This lecture explores the relation between memory and place, shuttling between Marfa, Texas, and Paphos, Cyprus, a contemporary exhibition and a fourth-century literary work. Earthquakes, and larger dynamics of destruction and resilience, provide a particular point of convergence, as the lecture engages both memory and place in their intimately material and more-than-human dimensions. How do humans remember place, and remember in place? How does place itself remember what humans have forgotten?
Virginia Burrus is the Bishop W. Earl Ledden Professor of Religion at Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY). She has been a fellow of the Israel Institute of Advanced Study and the American Council of Learned Societies. Her publications include Ancient Christian Ecopoetics: Cosmologies, Saints, Things (2019); Saving Shame: Martyrs, Saints, and Other Abject Subjects (2008); and The Sex Lives of Saints: Toward an Erotics of Ancient Hagiography (2004). At the Clark, she will be exploring the relation between place, fragmentation, and memory by putting ancient hagiographical texts into dialogue with contemporary art. The tentative title of her current manuscript is Earthquakes and Gardens: St. Hilarion’s Cyprus.
This is a prerecorded lecture that will be publicly available here October 2 through December 15, 2020.
Image: Left: Sissel Marie Tonn and Jonathan Rues, “The Intimate Earthquake Archive,” 2016–ongoing. Courtesy of the artists and Ballroom Marfa; Right: Victims of the earthquake, July 23, 365, Kourion Museum