“Memory is not an instrument for surveying the past but its theater. It
is the medium of past experience, just as the earth is the medium in
which dead cities lie buried. He who seeks to approach his own buried
past must conduct himself like a man digging.”
Berlin Childhood Around 1900
Our memories reside alongside the perpetually evolving past, being filtered, constructed, and forgotten. To return to past moments, events, objects, or people, as Benjamin asserts, is to dig. That is, there is no return without sweat, labour, and dirt. Above all, memory is performative.