By: Jackie Gase
Today I want to talk about everyone’s reactions to the Sites of Memory tour. How did you feel about a tour with a theatrical and performative addition? Do you think that it added something to an otherwise standard discussion on slavery? What did you think of the people not a part of the tour that reacted to it? Do you think there could have been elements of the performances that could be improved? Finally, overall as a tour looking at slavery in Amsterdam, do you think that this tour was informative enough?
For me, the tour didn’t delve into the history of slavery in Amsterdam as much as I would’ve liked. However, I don’t think the main goal of the tour was to be informative. The experience with the performers was more important than the information. Especially when they were yelling “bid bid bid” over and over following us through the canal forcing us to raise up our papers to bid on what the scene illustrated as slaves, you could tell that people in the boat, myself included, were uncomfortable at the interaction. We were feeling tense at the constant barrage of sounds forcing us to lift our numbers and be ogled by everyone around. This tension allowed us to feel just a fraction of what it might have been like for the enslaved people that were on the blocks to be bid on, everyone surrounding them calling out their numbers and screaming bid. The tour was more emotional than thoughtful.