Traveling Houses: Performing Diasporic Relationships in Europe
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The paper explores the mutual impact of Pacific houses and people in diasporic relationships. Tracing the fates of several whare and fale now located in Europe, it explores changes over time that resulted from different degrees of closeness or distance between the people gathered around them. Three houses feature prominently in the paper: Hinemihi o te Ao Tawhito in Clandon Park (close to London, UK); Rauru at the Museum für Völkerkunde (Hamburg, Germany); and a fale from Apia at the Tropical Islands Resort (close to Berlin, Germany). They enjoy and have historically enjoyed different degrees of connection with their source communities, which, I suggest, directly impact their role and state of being in their current locations. What their stories show is that identities and angles of vision change in particular ways during processes of colonization and globalization. These changes are relevant for local and global cultural developments and their role in cultural tourism, but also for the consideration of global identities generally. Together, Pacific notions of generative (rather than objectifying) relationships between people, and Benjamin’s notion of a performative relationship between present and past opening new angles and future possibilities, suggest that present and past relationships can be redeemed.