absence: historical (in)significance
“…absence means something and signifies as much as presence.” -Stuart Hall
How do we know what we know? In our understanding of history, our epistemology depends on the exposure of knowledge and information largely presented to us in the early years of our schooling. The expectation is for U.S. standard education to present the canon of history factually and objectively. However, what is commonly said is that history is written by the winners. What we come to know as history is a constructed history. This canon of constructed history determines which narratives are significant, what knowledge is the “true” knowledge, and who deserves to be understood.
I focused on three creators and three events that are often erased from conventional teachings of history. By physically sharing and handling these stories, the audience develops a relationship of intimacy. This relationship encourages the audience to contemplate the significance of these stories and the impact of erasing parts of history.
I chose the thaumatrope because the two sides create a dichotomy symbolic of the absence and presence. When set in motion, the two sides become one and the narrative becomes whole. Each thaumatrope comes with its own sleeve which presents information on the stories and enables the thaumatrope to be transportable so that it can be shared.