This remix project by CCT student Ken Wake sought to “ReMark” Georgetown’s history using The Old North Book as “the scaffolding for the play.” The project uses many of the same words of the original book, altering only “the cultural marking associated with given terms, names, etc.,” with the purpose of “moving the story towards a feminist and woman-centered rereading.”
Like many universities of its age, the story of Georgetown is one that has historically been told only through the densest of filters, with pieces of its past removed through most unnatural selection due to the lack of alignment of these bits with the narrative of prestige and the myth of Anglo-American superiority. Old North, the second of Georgetown’s buildings and the oldest still standing, is no exception (Georgetown University 1983). While it has hosted fourteen American presidents and countless other dignitaries and celebrities, there is another story to Old North—and, indeed, to Georgetown—that is seldom told. This is a story about slavery and a system of racism, sexism, and bigotry, a story upon which the greatest university in our nation’s capital was built, but one that it has simultaneously tried to push into the background.
Remix as both technique and cultural practice has tremendous capacity to unfold these sorts of jumbled histories. By forcing the juxtaposition of, for example, unexpected imagery in the context of the Georgetown creation myth, we may be forced to reconsider the role that privilege (of race, gender, religion, etc.) played in the founding of our academic home.
Building on this, for my final project, I wanted to explore the tension between historical accuracy and the stories we hear. I wanted to imagine an “alternate” history that could bring to life the absurdity of selection, these all-too-frequent sins of omission that give color to our shared past. Moreover, I hoped that the alternate histories, at times approaching absurd, could force the viewer for a moment to question the narrative and contemplate what really happened on the Hill Top. ~ Ken Wake
Peruse the reMarked pages, where founder of Georgetown College Archbishop John Carroll becomes founder of Elizabethtown College Joan Carroll (in reference to Joan of Arc) and Thomas Jefferson becomes Tina Jillersdaughter. Compare this herstory to the official history found in The Old North Book, and visit Ken’s installation at Georgetown on April 22nd.