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Re-imaging and modern memory of the Great War

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Neill, Peter (2012) Re-imaging and modern memory of the Great War. In: War and Memory, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland. Pending. [Conference contribution]

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Abstract

The paper examines and contextualises the results of practice-led research into the Great War experience of Irish landowner and soldier, Col. Robert David Perceval-Maxwell (13 Royal Irish Rifles). It makes use of several parallel narratives: the Estate Manager’s daily record, the official war history, War Diaries and Perceval-Maxwell’s personal correspondence to his wife, mother and children.The research investigates both the differences and the similarities between agricultural estate management and the overseeing of a foreign military campaign. It visually interrogates how twentieth century conflict transformed neutral landscape from a function of cultivation and animal husbandry to that of defence, aggression, military support and infrastructure. I have used photographic methods to (re)present the existing post war terrain and to examine how artistic intervention and production can re-interpret established historical parameters and viewpoints. The gradual, stealthy and surreptitious reconstruction of the theatre of the conflict continues as the land quietly recovers and heals itself from the physical wounds inflicted almost one hundred years ago. The practical and emotional post-war reaction to the conflict was the construction and rapid establishment of numerous war cemeteries to contain and honour the human sacrifice. Here, I make a visual comparison between Perceval-Maxwell’s ‘home’ land, which he passionately cared for, and his militarily adopted land which he dutifully managed as a professional soldier. The photographic study compares the former theatre of war with that of his estate in Ireland and examines real and perceived traces of visual evidence to re-evaluate modern memory of the conflict.

Item Type:Conference contribution (Paper)
Keywords:War memory Europe artistic cultural representation Great War
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment
Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment > Belfast School of Art
Research Institutes and Groups:Art and Design Research Institute
Art and Design Research Institute > Art and Conflict
ID Code:23704
Deposited By:Mr Peter Neill
Deposited On:22 Nov 2012 21:37
Last Modified:22 Nov 2012 21:37

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