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                                 Issue Number 3; Fall 2003       

Reviews Author Biographies Pedagogical Spotlights Feature Articles

"The collector, . . . beset by the chaos of memory, . . . brings together what belongs together . . . . keeping in mind their affinities."

These words were written originally by Walter Benjamin. They are evoked by Elaine Barkin at the beginning of her feature article, "Conjunctions and Affinities." But, in many senses, they serve as the "thematic thread" that binds the articles of this issue together as a sounding whole. We use our writing as a means of making sense of our experience--of bringing order and clarity, identifying underlying assumptions, re-dressing power relationships. Our writing, in this sense, begins in memory, the tracings of our distant and not so distant experiences. Ands, as memories, those experiences feed into, filter, and sometimes even subvert our writing as it proceeds.

In her article, "Conjunctions and Affinities, Elaine Barkin allows this process to become self-conscious and to follow the various paths, intersecting and divergent as they may initially appear, to follow their own courses. The result is a thought provoking commentary on the power of names, both as masks and as theoretical language revealing of music. Using the notion of collector, Barkin develops an argument, a case for us to address not only the names, the theoretical constructs, but the lived experience, and to know the richness that comes from the possibilities of their intersection.

In her visual documentary, "Performing Bodies: Negotiating Race and Gender in an Indigenous Australian Performance Studies Classroom," Elizabeth MacKinlay takes up the thread using her own memories of a classroom practice to unfold the complexities of gender and race performatives. Her writing picks up the thread of the "mask," using the classroom practices as a space where the activities such as dancing can open what lies behind the mask, allowing the players a freedom to speak, to move, to be. The visual documentary form also reminds us, as does Barkin's inter-textural approach, of the way in which memory and the identity that is constructed in and through it, is of the whole body, sounding, seen, moving, and touched, both as individuals and as groups. Her thoughts leave us wondering about the nature between memory and tradition, cultural identity, and individual or personal songs.

Finally, we end with Patricia Epringham-Warnock's review of Elaine Barkin's and Lydia Hamessley's recent book, Audible Traces: Gender, Identity, and Music. It in its whole combines the efforts of two collectors. Their affinities, their conjunctions, and the disjunctions speak first of the body as multiple, suggests that our own future through writing is an open and expanding one.

 

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