Memory and Politics of Memory: a Hang Tag

Monday February 13th 2012, 7:37 am
Filed under: None

On Febryary 9 PAVILION - center for contemporary art and culture hosted a lecture by Marius Stan, with the title Memory and Politics of Memory: a Hang Tag.

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Memory labels a wide variety of phenomena. You remember how to play GO after many years of idleness. You remember to call your parents when every of their anniversaries. You evoke the maidans where you used to play ball in your boyhood days. You retrace a flavour, a colour, a feeling… you bethink the 1989 events through the medium of certain time and praxis. Nonetheless lots of things happen – as Wittgenstein would assert – when we recollect.

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When the reminiscence is acquired through some political means, it takes the shape of the so-called politics of memory. Or when the reminiscence coalesces into art becoming its object, we can ultimately state something about an art of memorialisation. All these employments are using interpretations and reinterpretations of some past symbols, whilst the memory on the whole is nothing else than a complex process wherein selection plays a decisive role. Being a trial experience par excellence, the memory could retrospect to the cast of the one who makes the selection. Notwithstanding, who is to say which elements are retainable as public memento and whichever should be blotted out or forgotten? That memory of a certain kind and shape could unintentionally arise within this “lab”, is another plausible fact. But things can be intended and unintended at a time, whilst certain “vernacular memories” of some major events could remain quite different from the official historical commemoration.

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As oration of any common narrator used to facing the past, “Memory and Politics of Memory: a Hang Tag” tries to retell to the unforgetting ones how exactly the post-communist Romania has condescended to recollect its recent history in the aforementioned ways: politically and artistically! In other words, to provide answers to at least two fundamental questions: what and how exactly did we manage to politically recall in relation to the communist period? What and how exactly did we manage to artistically recall in relation to the communist period? Thus the political and artistic awakenings of the past as means to a post-communist establishment of some memorial typologies shall be explored.

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Marius Stan holds a PhD in political sciences from the Faculty of Political Sciences – Bucharest University (with a thesis on the administration of the past in Serbia and the functioning of the ICTY), and currently works as a researcher within the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile wherefrom he has published several articles and other writings on the history of communism in Romania. He has published many studies about the penitentiary system, re-education by means of torture, and the communist repression in Romania; he also coordinates the international journal History of Communism in Europe. He co-authored two volumes of the The Dictionary of the Officers and Civil Employees belonging to the General Directorate of the Penitentiaries. Central Apparatus: 1948-1989, Iași: Polirom, 2009/ 2011.
Starting with 2006 he is a member and spokesman of the civic movement “Miliția Spirituală” (“Spiritual Militia”).
Among his fields of interest should be mentioned few educational and memorial projects (http://istoriacomunismului.ro/#/home; http://www.memoryofnation.eu/), the socio-political transformations in post-communist Europe and transitional studies – general (Romania/Serbia – in particular).

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