Alexandra Tálamo – The War at Home: Choreographies of Transfer Across an Ocean

Performance-Lecture

Alexandra Tálamo

University of New South Wales

Remote Dramaturg – Richard Pettifer

The War at Home: Choreographies of Transfer Across an Ocean

In this film-as-performance, I explore the aesthetics of postmemory by inviting my family to re-enact the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands war. The Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands war is the distant instigating event of my father, brother and sister’s migration to Australia, but it is also an ongoing negotiation of memory that is played out within the family unit. This presentation integrates durational performance-to-camera, video interviews, media materials and family mythologies, with each family member recalling different facets of the war. The performance of ‘family’ as shaped by the war and the family’s ‘performance’ of the war through remembering, acts to expose and disturb the imagined boundaries that define a familial identity. Within postmemorial aesthetics, this troubling of family memory enables a critique of how the memories we inherit can be shaped by nationalist narratives and propaganda. This research attends to the imaginative work of migrant families, and demonstrates how intergenerational memory can be further opened out to experiences of conflicting multi-positionalities. The development of this work has been shaped by its translation from stage to screen, with an attention to the ways that the medium acts both as a documentation of performance and, concurrently, a site of remembrance. 

Exhibition 

Alexandra Tálamo

University of New South Wales

30,000 Shots: Gestures from the Argentinian Dictatorship

When my father emigrated from Argentina he left a country that ‘disappeared’ 30,000 of its citizens during a brutal military dictatorship. In this exhibition, I explore the inherited memories, gestures and mythologies of this period as they appear and erupt within a contemporary Australian body. Drawing on family testimony, cultural references and the media images that the second-generation inherits, the work reflects the experience and labour of intergenerational memory from the perspective of an artist working within aesthetic lineages, and a daughter, living within a border-anxious state. 

The collection presents photography and video works that were created through residencies undertaken in Mexico and Sydney. It also includes the live performance of 30,000 Shots, in which I posed 30,000 times for a camera over eight hours on the opening night of the exhibition, and the multi-channel video work that was subsequently made from the documentation of this performance. The varied media used in the exhibition extends the exploration of re-enactment into form, as one of the ways that memories can be transferred and also reworked.

Alexandra Tálamo is a performance artist whose work uses choreographically-based strategies to explore autobiographical and mythological frameworks of postmemory. She is a graduate of VCA (Postgraduate Diploma in Performance Creation 2012) and a current PhD Candidate in Creative Practice at UNSW Sydney, where she was also awarded the 2017 University Medal for her BA (Hons) in Theatre and Performance Studies. In 2018 she was awarded the Philip Parsons Prize from ADSA. Her work has been presented at Kaffee Kuchen-Action Art III (Weimar, 2018), MCA ARTBAR (2018), Venice International Performance Art Week (2017), Performance Studies international (2016), and Art+Activism month at FCAC (2016).