Kim Robert’s published in new
book, Civic Spaces and Desire
An abstract of Kim’s contribution, ‘Hi-ro-shi-ma space: the pathways of post-memory’ follows.
“Hi-ro-shi-ma”: the word is broken and transformed on the tongue of a foreign visitor. The space she attempts to navigate, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, is broken too on the banks of her memory. She reconstructs this space, a civic and universally construed place of remembrance, via post-memorial pathways. Territories of site and self shift and she glides on the surface of history, seeing everything and nothing. “She”, a character from the Marguerite Duras and Alain Resnais screenplay and cinematic collaboration, Hiroshima mon amour (1959), is in many ways emblematic of the body of research upon which this chapter draws. This is research that is concerned with the encounter between foreign (read “Western” and, for the purposes of this research, English-speaking) tourists and the architectural landscape of the Peace Park, first proposed by modernist architect Kenzo Tange in 1949. This chapter explores the new ways of envisioning its apparently immobile physical contours by post-memorial reinventions through interviews and cognitive mapping exercises conducted with Australians. Turning aside from hermeneutic interpretations of space via the theoretical ideas of Deleuze and Guattari, de Certeau and memory studies scholar, Marianne Hirsch, I ask less about what the site means and how it—affectively—works. How this space becomes, at once visible and invisible to foreign eyes present the park according through its desires beyond commemoration.