Three cotton fabrics, silkscreen 160 x 300 cm each, 2016
Past, less predictable than the Future is a growing archive of still and moving images focused on documenting memorial sites and parks in former Yugoslavia. While an only small part of the archive has been presented, the final outcome of this research will take form of a publication, aimed for 2045. This long term proposition allows for thinking through decades of image and memory-making with the question of how, why and under what conditions memory changes over time?
The Yugoslav politics of memory after WWII was constructed around three stories of liberation: victory over fascism, victims and local context, and social revolution. The function of memorial sites was to commemorate the past and bear witness for the future. But Yugoslavia produced an original memorial typology connecting the memory of World
War II to the promise of the future. That future was opened up by the socialist revolution. Yugoslav memorialisation was part of a complex historical process that linked and intertwined ideology, art and politics. As a result, some of the well known abstract memorials were made. The abstract language of memorial sites allows certain openness that gives space for self-reflection and personal association. While the artworks had a diverse quality and aesthetic significance, their ideological function shouldn't prevent us from seeing them for what they stand. Undoubtedly, the ideological purpose of monumental public sculptures, memorial parks, smaller-scale statues, busts and commemorative plates played an essential role in instituting rituals. All school kids went on excursions to visit particular monuments and learn about emancipatory past of Yugoslavia. Everyone growing up before the 90s has at least one photograph from the school trip.
During the 90s War and its aftermath, culture and education underwent dramatic ideological change. The nationalism altered the present and the past narratives overwriting the ideals of revolution. The history of once celebrated antifascist, revolutionary and workers struggle was demonised. The attempt to erase the history, in each and every former Yugoslav state started with revisionists rewriting of it.