Falling For the Forgotten (and not) Dead of History

I want to thank all who participated in Haunting the Past’s Present: Falling for the Forgotten (and not) Dead of History. Hearing your dedications and falling with you was deeply moving for me. Below is a video and photo montage of our fall.

with gratitude,


Haunting the Past’s Present: Falling for the Forgotten (and not) Dead of History is a participatory dawn-to-dusk memorial performance. Each of Haunting’s participants will identify a population whose deaths have been and are largely disavowed or marginalized by dominant discourses and processes of memorialization and will fall in memory of this constituency.  An embodied investigation of the space between “Us” and “Other,” between individual and social mourning, between personal ritual and public protest, between the remembered and the disavowed dead, Haunting is an attempt to register, in and through the personal and the public body, the forgotten (and not) dead of history. 

Where: Saturday June 29, dawn till dusk, Old Union Courtyard (520 Lasuen Mall), Stanford University


No prior movement or dance experience is necessary for participation.  “Falling” is not intended as a literal act but as a ritualized gesture. How, and how many times, each participant chooses to “fall” should be decided in accord with your own physical needs. What’s important is the intention  that  you bring to the task.

1. Recall someone close to you who has died. How did their loss impact you? Notice any thoughts, stories, or mental associations that arise as you reflect on this loss. Notice any emotional feelings and physical sensations that occur as you recall this person. Repeat the process recalling the loss of someone (or a group) you’ve had a less intimate relationship with. (A more distant relative; an ancestor; an acquaintance; or someone you don’t know personally, but whose loss you feel some social or cultural resonance with.) Once again, repeat the process but focus on a population whose loss, or losses, have been largely disavowed, or minimized, by dominant discourses and processes of memorialization. This could be a population whose death or loss, you’ve learned of through the news or social media; it could be a population whose deaths have been recorded historically, but who remain relatively unmemorialized within/by the dominant culture.

2. Sign into the Haunting’s blog “dedications” page indicating the name of the individual or population you will “fall” in memory of.

3. Begin and end your falls with a statement of dedication (“I fall in memory of…” “I dedicate these falls to the memory of . . .”).

4. Give yourself some time for a post-fall reflection process. This could take the form a some quiet time, journal writing, sharing with someone. You are also invited to share your written reflections on Haunting‘s reflections page.

NOTE: On the day of the fall a chime will be sounded to signal the passing of each 1/2 hour.

Haunting is part of the Performance Studies International Conference 19.

Here are directions on public transportation to the Stanford campus.


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