Kim Roberts Published in ‘Haunting’
A taster follows:
Places that haunt us, as individuals and researchers, are those unquiet sites not done with unloading their stories – with reinventing them through us. Theirs are the partial stories that insistently suggest themselves in fragmented landscapes which beckon us, creep up on us, and that, unbidden, follow us home. These stories bring with them real and imagined pasts, yet also inklings of the possible futures they forebode. Disturbingly, they often seem to envelope our own stories – our perceptions, associations, attitudes, experience and affects – within their embrace. This paper is a meditation on such a site, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and the haunting and haunted “spatial stories” that inform and frame my research on it. The site is one that disturbed my memory and posed part-formed questions for over two decades before I returned to attempt to discover why. It is a place that lingers pervasively, if imperfectly, in the memories of those who visit it. Drawing on a series of interviews and cognitive mapping exercises with visitors in situ and Australians who had previously visited the Park, this paper focuses on the redesigned, re-inscribed, reconstructed, much photographed, and disappearing memorial at its centre: the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Cenotaph.