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Minoru: Memory of Exile. Dir. Michael Fukushima. DVD. National Film Board of Canada, 1992. Courtesy of the artist.

Memory & Representation Symposium. Art History Association, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, April 21–22, 2011.

This conference was the seventh annual international graduate student symposium for the Art History Association at the University of Oregon. The event included lectures provided by artists and scholars and centered on the visual culture of commemoration, documentation, and memorialization.

The paper abstract for my presentation and the conference brochure can be found below.


Excavating Minoru: Visualizing the Personal and Historical Archives in Michael Fukushima’s Animated Documentary

In an old black and white photograph, a young boy is pictured with his family. Suddenly animated, he leaps out of the picture plane into a colorfully illustrated city scene. An extension of the boy himself, the city reveals an inner landscape, a vision of Minoru Fukushima’s childhood memory. This is the opening of Minoru: Memory of Exile (1992), a nonfictional short directed by Michael Fukushima, the protagonist’s son. Through an assemblage of archival footage, family photographs, and animation, the film recounts Minoru’s experience as a Japanese Canadian growing up during World War II, when he and his family were detained at an internment camp in British Columbia before their eventual deportation to Japan. By entering the terrain of Minoru’s memory, Fukushima’s film becomes an expedition into a deeply embedded social history. This discussion of Minoru examines how personal narrative is employed as a tool for historical excavation and works to illuminate the ruins of history. It further underscores the interactions between the film’s disparate media, investigating how animation serves to visually re-embody archival absence, becoming a living, moving memorial for the irretrievability of the past.

Symposium brochure, University of Oregon, 2011.

Symposium brochure, University of Oregon, 2011.