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Archive of Cultural Memory

Blog: Dea Vidovic
Author: Dea Vidovic - Date: 27 May 2010, 08:22

Collected materials for the project The Culture Lobby are presented as an visual archive and it’s online. 

The photographs, audio and video on this website are a collective portrait of the territories of the Western Balkans that have yet to join the European Union, the product of a three-year collaborative photographic project called The Culture Lobby.

The project is an initiative to create a participatory "active archive" of cultural memory in Albania, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia during this moment of transition, by documenting visually and aurally what citizens think will change or disappear when their territory joins the EU. It was conceived by Croatian-Canadian artist Cindy Blažević and Canadian artist Pascal Paquette in 2007, and was brought to life in collaboration with curator Milica Pekić, from the Belgrade-based platform for contemporary art KIOSK, over the ensuing three years.

Seven arts organizations throughout the Western Balkans collaborated intensely throughout 2009 in an exchange of local artists whose task it was to talk to random citizens in the cities, towns and villages of a participating country that was not their own. Everyone was asked the same question: What do you think will change or disappear in your everyday life when your country joins the European Union? The answers collected, photographed and displayed are intended as a barometer of the concerns, fears and aspirations of the citizens of this region, who – through their participation – contributed to the creation of an alternative cultural history as an artwork in itself. 

These dialogues represent the backbone of the visual archive – namely, the opus of photographs created by the artists as a response to and interpretation of every single conversation they had during their research. In this case, artwork emerged from the cross–border interaction between citizens and artists, providing citizens of the region a neutral platform through which to share their viewpoints. The artwork also serves as a documentation of their memories. Additionally, the artists marked the GPS position of each location where a photo or audio was taken, which will allow future viewers to navigate the artwork and the region – online and physically – and see if the phenomenon or locale that someone deemed culturally relevant has, indeed, disappeared or changed.

Active/online/visual archive is accessible here




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