The Camp Pilgrimage: an Act of Spatial Agency & Remembrance of Former Sites of Japanese American and Japanese Confinement

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Published

Photographic section published in The Funambulist 12 (July-August 2017) Racialized Incarceration. Click here to access the rest of the issue.

Temporary blockades, pickets, makeshift enclosures, boycotts, takeovers, marches, occupations, sit-ins, and other related interventions have proven to be highly adaptable and resonant ways to assert spatial agency. These acts of political resistance and the collective gatherings that champion them, disrupt and dispute the routine operation of power and circulation of capital.

Valadares Funambulist 1

The location of former barracks at Manzanar National Historic Site, California.

In an attempt to study how previously dispossessed groups re-map a continuing presence on the land through ritual commemoration, I am interested in the ways in which pilgrimages to former sites of Japanese American confinement have historically functioned as a space-claiming tactic and as a political tool to “unsettle the city.” The pilgrimage has played an important role in resisting through remembering and its function as a collective experience is embedded with spiritual resonance through prayer and ritual.

The 47th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage (April 2016, California) 

Valadares Funambulist 2

Traces of unearthed rock gardens at Manzanar National Historic Site, California.