Repairing the Memory

La Voz de Galicia – July 05, 2019 →

Cristina PatoHidden at the bottom of the shelf were dozens of videotapes holding all kinds of treasures. Staring at them, I wondered, And what do I do with this? There were videos of my concerts during the nineties, and I, who prefer not to look back, thought, And what if I get rid of them? After all, I am no longer «that person»…

But there, along with the concerts, were also a series of tapes titled, «My Father’s House», and I remembered that «that» had a project in mind that was never completed. I wanted to tell the story of the way one went about acquiring a tomb in the cemetery of Armariz because when my father died, we had nowhere to bury him. For months, I recorded the process my family underwent to obtain one of the early vaults for Dositeo. I even recorded one of his friends, Redondo, making a complete renovation of «my father’s house»: cleaning the old tomb, widening the space for a large coffin, evening it, and placing the marble.

Even though I did not want to look at these recordings, I suddenly remembered how important the process had been for me. It was my own historic memory of my father’s unexpected death. It was my own individual obituary.

It has been a year since The New York Times opened a new category in its obituary section titled Overlooked where it intends to correct the fact that most of the obituaries included in the newspaper since 1851 were those of white men. History writes itself in thousands of ways, and honoring the dead is one of them. Even though some of the dead passed away more than a century ago, recovering the memory of those who have been ignored in order to understand the present situation is necessary to repair those great little holes tearing apart the world.

1 Comment

  1. Cristina, te conoci ayer viendo Rusian T.V.. No solo me emocionó tu historia y admirable recorrido musical, sino que me intereso tu trabajo sobre la memoria. Soy de Argentina, Buenos Aires, trabajo en Escuelas Públicas de Educación Especial, como Psicopedagoga de los equipos interdisciplinarios. Pero también estoy empezando a pensar un proyecto personal para trabajar con adultos mayores, talleres de memoria, motivada por lo vivido con mi padre a partir de que tuvo un ACV. y canto amateur en un coro.Me hiciste ver que la música es LA herramienta por excelencia y yo uniría mis dos pasiones. Tenes libros, o material sobre esas investigaciones o experiencias que trabajaste al respecto.??, bueno, recien empiezo a ver tu pagina y ya te escribí, porque me pareces interesantísima, y me renovaste el entusiasmo. Muchas veces me pregunto porque la música española me emociona hasta las lágrimas, cuando no tengo ascendencia española, sino Italiana, y con muy poca transmisión por ser mi padre huérfano de pequeño. Y de parte de madre ascendencia paraguaya, a pesar que el apellido es Prieto…..nada, tal vez tus trabajos me hagan comprender esta fibra que me une a España. Un cálido abrazo, desde el aislamiento de ya mas de 3 meses aca por la pandemia 2020.

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