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Phase 1: Getting Together ZAGREB, 2010

editor’s note

Photomontage created through OPA association workshop for young citizens Memories – In Space Author: Tihana Lončar; Mentor: Gordana Koščec


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

...because even we, who have been kept silent in at least four languages, have to speak sometimes... We die as bodies, but we continue to live as shadows. From a conversation with Shilpa Gupta, THE MEDIA OF ABSENCE, by Peter Weibel. In Shilpa Gupta. Why do I remember, edited by Nancy Adajania. Prestel: Munich - Berlin London - NY


nemosyne - Theatre of Memories found its inspiration firstly in the work of Lenka Reinerová, and secondly in the work of Eva Grlić. Both women were born in Jewish families, both had to flee from the Nazi regime, they were both innocent prisoners of political framings and communist show trials in 1950s (paradoxically, Lenka as anti-Stalinist, Eva as pro-Stalinist), and they both left behind written testimonies of their survival in extremely difficult times. For me, reading Eva Grlić’s Memories was equal to reading 20th century Yugoslav history of my childhood and youth again. Through Lenka Reinerová’s eyes I discovered anew Prague I had to leave in 1988 and had not had chance to investigate in – Prague as a ludic polemic city of the 1930s, imbued with Czech, German and Jewish languages and cultures. A city worth recreating and reflecting on. The reflection and networking that emerged out of these readings relied strongly on the fact that the origin of both theory and theatre rest in the same Greek roots meaning viewing and seeing. The collective endeavour of rethinking cultures of remembrance and creating possibilities to convey the experiences of the 20th century while already approaching the second decade of the 21st century eventually shaped the content of this publication and DVD, that together can be partly viewed and seen as a sort of a textual, but also visual, collective libretto, and partly be read as a reader in cultures of remembrance. It is also to be pinpointed that we dealt with both ways of ‘bringing the past into the present: performing and remembering.’01 01 Connerton, P: Kako se društva sjećaju. Zagreb: Antibarbarus. 2004. p. 39. (original: Paul Connerton. How Societies Remember, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press 1989)

The first of altogether six encounters within the project Mnemosyne - Theatre of Memories / Phase I: Getting Together titled Active European Remembrance: What does it stand for? was marked by the work of Bogdan Bogdanović, a Yugoslav architect who spent the last two decades of his life in exile in Vienna. His name and work have gradually become equally relevant for this project as the previously mentioned ones and inspired its subtitle: Mnemopolitics. Mnemotopias. Mnemopoetics.02 Considering the human relation to past, ‘space represents to the art of memory what time represents for the culture of memory.’03 The subsequent work on conceptualizing Encounters (II–VI) continued while having that in mind. In those precarious moments of 1988, Bogdanović wrote an open letter to the Central Committee of Yugoslav communist party. That letter was the reason why he left Serbia a few years later, which was by then dominated by Slobodan Milošević’s nationalism with a socialist façade. He was fol02 Mnemopolitics is a neologism I invented to denominate politics of remembrance, as they were, as they are and as they could be. Mnemotopias are inspired by mnemotop, borrowed from Jan Assman, who again borrowed it from Maurice Halbwachs (Mnemotop Palestine). Assman, J. Das kulturelle Gedaechtnis. München: Verlag C.H. Beck OHG. 2002. Mnemopoetics is the word that I coined to instigate reflexive ars memoriae, also referring to Aristotel Poetics (Ars Poetica). 03 Assman, J. Kulturno pamćenje. Zenica: Vrijeme. 2005. p. 37. Interpreted by Sonja Leboš. Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


lowed, his phone was tapped and, spring of 2009, ‘several hundred simply put, his life was made a individuals with ustasha symliving hell. At the same time, a bols, uniforms, and flags’ were strong nationalist movement present.04 Although the public was also spreading in Croatia. display of ustasha symbols in The Croatian version was very Croatia has generally diminconnected to the remembrance ished in the last few years as EU and glorification of the old membership approaches, AustriCroatian statehood tradition, inan laws banning fascist and Nazi cluding the remembrance of the symbols do not apply to those horrible Nazi-allied Independof the ustashas, which are conent State of Croatia (Nezavisna sidered to be merely “Croatian Država Hrvatska – NDH) which historical symbols” in the eyes was led by the ustasha moveof the Austrian authorities. Yet Memorial plaque in Ksaver church park in Zagreb, ment and their poglavnik Ante the annual gathering of ustasha Photo: Saša Šimpraga, September 2010; Pavelić. The linguistic frenzy of nostalgists on Austrian territoQuestion mark by the editor. 1990s (re)invented words like poglavito and poglavarstvo. The mnemopolitics that developed after the collapse of Yugoslav state enabled horrid commemo- 04 Pavlaković, V. Deifying the Defeated: Commemorating Bleiburg since 1990 (This unpublished article is a revised version of a Croatian rative political theatre in the places like Bleiburg in Austria article published as ‘Komemorativna kultura Bleiburga, 1990 – (near the Slovenian border). According to historian Vjeran 2009.’ in Tihomir Cipek, ed., Kultura sjećanja 1945. Zagreb: Disput, 2009). Pavlaković, who visited the Bleiburg commemoration in the

Photos created through OPA association workshop for young citizens Memories – In Space. Collective work carried out in Zagreb’s rurban


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

ry remains problematic because the crimes of the NDH are forgotten through the process of creating victims out of the perpetrators. At the occasion of the first Encounters in Croatia, publicist and activist Saša Šimpraga initiated a petition for the renaming of a local city council in Zagreb which at the time still had a name of Mile Budak, one of the founders of the ustasha movement. The renaming took place two months prior to this note, thanks to the petition and many other citizens’ initiatives (the local council again carries the name of Slovenian poet Oton Župančič). The day before the International Holocaust Day in 2010, the Margel Institute and the Centre for Social Research Branko Horvat initated activist action in that neighbourhood, which was followed by a press conference emphasising the schizophrenic state of Croatian society where something like that was still possible in 2010. According to the report on the Margel Institute website, not many journalists came to the conference.05 Bogdanović spent most of his life building antifascist 05, visited on October 13, 2010.

monuments. He created mnemotopias which were ordered by those who dictated mnemopolitics of an era, but he was primarily led by his inner (mnemo)poetical intuition. He was not the only one who can nowadays be considered representative of Yugoslav antifascist memorial culture, but he was certainly the most prolific one. Among many other mnemotopias, he designed the memorial site for victims of the death camp Jasenovac. The memorial site Jasenovac can be seen as the first modern land art piece (that precedeed Robert Smithson’s work, though under completely different circumstances) because Bogdanović transformed the whole landscape of the area into something new. In Jasenovac approximately 80,000 people (mostly ethnic Serbs) had been killed. When I say approximately, I feel ashamed for the whole nation I formally belong to, while indicating that there were people who being so proud Croats, killed other people to prove their nationality. During the socialist epoch I was told that my grandfather from mother’s side died as a partisan. In the 1990s my family suddenly changed their mind and told me that the grandfather was killed as domobran, which means that he was a member of regular Croatian military formation (controlled by

area of Šestine; Mentor: Ida Loher Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


ustasha regime) which disintegrated in 1943. That was a com- it is common to see that war only through the lens of the mon trend in Croatia in 1990s: suddenly, grandfathers (those Croatian-Serbian conflict. My brother was shot and nearly who were dead at the time, of course – those who survived died as a soldier in the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army already in spoke for themselves, hopefully) became domobrans or even June 1991. Military service in socialist Yugoslavia was obustashas. Having a father or grandfather who was killed as a ligatory. He was shot by members of Territorial Defense of partisan was not so popular anymore as it had been during the Republic of Slovenia, where, in my opinion, the civil socialism. I think I felt something that German people whose war actually commenced. My brother was 18 and the boy fathers and grandfathers had fought for the Third ­Reich felt who came to pick him up after shooting was, according to in 1960s or 1970s. my brother’s memory, no older than 16. My brother thought During the 1990s in Croatia, it was a time not only when that he was picked up and brought to a hospital in Vipava (a “patriotic” historians rewrote textbooks to adapt better to the small Slovenian town close to Trieste, Italy) only because dominant mnemopolitics06 of Tuđman’s regime, but also the he had found the strength to utter one single word in kajkatime when people retold their private histories to fit them vian dialect: the word kaj (meaning ‘what’). That is what he better into the ‘new’ system. told me then. Today he says he erased it from his memory. Luckily, there where people who resisted. Luckily, there Of course, he supressed it. The Yugoslav soldier boy who were people who reclaimed the right on being antifascist in was sitting in the same military jeep next to my brother Croatia, among other things also by reclaiming the Victims was not so lucky. He bled to death in less than a few minof Fascism Square in the Croatian capital, Zagreb. Thanks utes. That boy was one of 44 fatalities, while my brother is to those people we can now remember Croatia of 1990s as an one of the 146 wounded in the conflict in Slovenia known authoritarian state driven to war (which distinguishes it se- as the Ten-Day War. verely from today’s authoritarian Italy, for example), and we Bogdanović passed away a few months ago. Thanks to the do not have to live in it anymore. But legacy of his monuments, but also of we do have to live in ruined country, his archive lodged in the Architectural where in cities like Split, Croatia’s Centre in Vienna, Bogdan Bogdanović’s second largest city, every second great shadow will continue to live on adult person capable of working is many memorial sites, nowadays represently unemployed. Or a counminding people not just of WWII, but try where it is possible that working also of the Yugoslav Civil War which women who have not been paid for was largely fuelled by the hidden or six months go on a hunger strike in untold ‘small’ histories of the previous Zagreb, and only a miniscule part of war. Resistance in Prague 1968. Croatian society finds the time to For those who learn to see beyond Photo: Pavel Macháček. support them. the concept of nationality it will reveal, Courtesy: Memory Of Nation virtual archive Perhaps in twenty, thirty, or, in as Bogdanović used to say, a concept of the worst-case scenario, fifty years anthropological remembrance,07 or allfrom now, the official history will accept the fact that total- human remembrance, which could eventually lead to a waritarianism in Europe did not end with the fall of the Berlin free civilization. wall, but it continued to live in its organically penetrable However, that civilization is still a utopia. Shortly before edges, and led five out of the six states of ex-Yugoslavia into the time we started to ponder over what European remema state of a bloodshed that, I think, should be denominated brance stood for within the Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories the YUGOSLAV CIVIL WAR. I am saying that also because project, four soldiers, this time German, were killed while defending somebody else’s interests again: this time in Af06 Petrungaro, S. Riscrivere la storia. Il caso della manualistica croata (1918-2004), Stylos, Aosta 2006.


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

07 Bogdanović, B. Ukleti neimar. Split: Feral Tribune.2001

ghanistan.08 These soldiers had no names; in the press, they were just soldiers of a particular European nationality. What obviously connects Croatian and Czech cultures of remembrance is the period of the long silence over the crimes committed after WWII. The violent expulsion of German people from Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia is the theme of one theatre piece by Brno-based Feste Theatre and a film by Austrian born artist Michaela Strumberger. The silence in these two countries, however, was interpreted in totally different ways, which should be subjected to further intercultural research. The murmur about the Roma Holocaust continues in both countries, also being interpreted too rarely. 1968 has not yet found its place in Czech history textbooks. I assume that European women started to openly and loudly speak of violations committed by the Red Army first at the beginning of the 1980s - cultures of remembrance are still very patriarchal. The work of Elke Krasny and Pavla Frýdlová 09 are remarkable contemporary examples of the effort to change that. One of the answers to the question what active European remembrance stood for was pronounced by Argentine artist Florencia Fernandez Frank: it stands for changes we can make today. Articulation of the contemporary art and culture, to paraphrase Vattimo,10 can be seen as a positive function of excessive memory we have to learn to deal with in the present.  • I would like to thank to all people who contributed to the project so far and to emphasise that my opinions and attitudes neither reflect opinions of other authors in this book nor of anybody who has participated in the project in any form. I would also like to apologize to the authors who contributed to the Encounters I-VI and whose work, due to many difficulties we faced, has not Photomontage John Heartfield, become a part of this publication, but it is gradually becoming published in AIZ, nr. 9, February 27, 1936. a part of the website of the project which continues to serve as Courtesy: Library of Czech National Museum a platform for contribution and exchange about arts and cultures of remembrance.

08 Published on April 16, 2010. Visited on October 13, 2010. 09 10 Vattimo, G. El olvido imposible in Yerushalmi, Y. et al.Usos del olvido. Argentina: Nueva Vision. 1989.p.79 Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories



Lenka Reinerová – witness of the XXth century.


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


enka Reinerová’s (1916-2008) life and work represent one amongst many European XXth century female destinies. The First World War was in the midst when she was born and that shaped her fate, as later the WWII did. Her life shows us clearly how fervently and irrevocably world historical, political and ideological upheavals influence a life path of an individual. Many of Lenka’s quests, especially those tragic ones, would not have taken place if she had not been Jewish. Her attitudes and stances were seen as sin and guilt by totalitarian ideologies. As a Jewish girl she was forced to leave Prague in 1939 and the Holocaust took her whole family from her forever. During exile, she became familiar with foreign countries because she had to, not because she wanted to. Despite all these facts – and acting differently than many others in exile - she acknowledged her fascination about being able to live in Paris, Versailles, Casablanca and eventually in Mexico-City. Her natural tendency not to succumb to the often cheerless reality under any circumstances led to ambiguous interpretations of experiences in distant and mysterious countries. Overseas or in North Africa, Lenka was not only tormented by homesickness, fear and sorrow, but also simultaneously thrilled with hunger for discovery and new knowledge (‘Which girl from Prague has ever been to Africa?’, she asks in one of her literary texts). No matter whether she was imprisoned in Paris at the end of the 30s or in Prague in the 50s, or being in bomb-ruined Belgrade in 1946, she helped herself with her own imagination and dreams while resisting nihilism and maintaining hope. Lenka Reinerová was a woman who had a long and successful life. She witnessed social, personal and palpable human turmoil connected with the uproaring XXth century. Her writing was an intentional practice against oblivion. She did not want to allow the destinies of people dear to her to be forgotten: in the times of the great crises, of the rising fascism, the civil war in Spain, the forced migration and the Holocaust, the political processes of the 50s, in the time of the Prague Spring and in the time of the political changes in the 80s - all throughout to recent days in the XXIst century - she wrote. In her literary work, Lenka Reinerová constantly unearths facts that for the post WWII born generations were not just incomprehensible and difficult to understand, but also emotionally veiled. Her work is a very special historical reader, whereby the history of the XX century is being told through small people’s destinies. Her memoir, like storytelling, conveys the history of everyday people and their (private) histories. The people in her stories stood against anti-human tendencies of various epochs and became active actors of their times. Therefore, her texts make an important part of European cultural remembrance: as a memoir and as a memento.  • Viera Glosíková Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories



Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Photomontage ‘Titan’ Authors: Jana Dabac / Lovro Bauer Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories



Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Ivan Ristić

Bogdan Bogdanović’s Work in-between Politics and Poetics


ollowing Tito’s break with Stalin (in 1948) Yugoslavian society became increasingly liberal and advancements were made towards the West. To separate itself from the Eastern Bloc, the young socialist state was searching for a new visual identity. What form should the commemoration of those who fell in World War II and the victims of fascism take? There was a need for more than a socialist-realist approach or abstract sculpture. Bogdan Bogdanović decided on a transcivilisational architectural language free of ideology. By the beginning of the 1980s nineteen large commemorative sites were completed, scattered throughout the former Yugoslavia. It is, above all, up to the visitors to read the histories in Bogdanović’s cenotaphs, tumuli, gateways and iconic urban representations. Everybody provides their own exegesis, everybody’s memories are equally valid. •

Ivan Ristić’s lecture on April 24, 2010 in Zagreb. Photos: AIIR Archive

Abstract of the lecture given on April 24, 2010 in Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb. Translation: Jonathan Quinn Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories



Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

What I was capable of, was recoursing to archaic forms. I was convinced that the deeper the semantics of form went into the metahistorical layers of human imagination, the more readily understood the symbols would be. Bogdan Bogdanović Translated from: Ukleti neimar, Feral Tribune, Split 2001

Memorial for victims of ustashas’ death camp Jasenovac. Bogdan Bogdanović’s work, finished in 1966. Photo: Ivan Ristić Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


Ivan Ristić’s lecture on April 24, 2010 in Zagreb. Photos: AIIR Archive


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Jasenovac Memorial Site - Between play and...


emories that go back to the eighties of the last century bring back the childhood days spent there, along the river Sava, where Western-Slavonia plains start. It is also an area where the Lonjsko polje natural park extends, as the nature reserve which in an exceptional way impregnates this region and forms the local people’s lives. It is a region where I spent many holidays and weekends at my grandparent’s home. Right there, near the mouth of the river Una is Jasenovac Memorial site, where during the Second World War a concentration camp was located. But, this is not what I want to write about - the reason to write is because I wanted to draw the attention to a different vision and experience of space. I recall the memories of how this space, marked by the monument dedicated to the victims of the concentration camp, was experienced from a child’s view... The relatively large area bordered by the local roads and the river Sava, today, just as then when I was in primary school, is overseen by Bogdanović’s monument “The Flower”. Hummocks scattered around the lawn mark the locations of the facilities that the concentration camp contained. I remember many stories that we had the opportunity to hear from the local people who witnessed the days of its horrifying activity in person. Although the stories were intriguing, instructive, imbued with melancholy, charged with the heavy burden of memories of war time, suggesting that at this place something extremely inhuman and repulsive happened, to us, children, all of

that actually was difficult to imagine at a place where the grass was beautifully green, where the chirping of birds was uninterrupted, and fish in the lake at the base of the monument calmly approached you wishing to be fed. Right here where you can, or at least could, see deer grazing, all this could hardly be perceived as sad in a child’s mind. Space emitted some sublime silence, but not such that would overcome the sounds of nature that was simply there, above all dominating and overwhelming the senses. I could tell that there was a sort of awe, perhaps only subconsciously as a result of the stories told to us. However, this was a place which simply acted as our playground – an area for playing and curious roaming, carefree leisure, a place that created quite different feelings in us than the ones commonly expected by the usual purpose of the monuments of war suffering. But, today, twenty and something years later and therefore older, I occasionally pass by this place and somehow realise that neither the grass is so green, nor does this area appeal to me anymore and the birds seem to become quieter. Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that it is no longer observed from a child’s view?! Or maybe now a fulfilling monumental purpose remains, but not the one for which the monument was intended, but a completely private one, acquired along the way. Reflection of the horrors of the recent war that took place in this area deprived child’s view too soon.  • Dino Igrec

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


Dunja Blažević Photos: courtesy of Dunja Blažević


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Dunja Blažević’s lecture on April 24, 2010 in Zagreb. Photos: AIIR Archive

Dunja Blažević

De/Construction of Monument. Clash of Memories “In no country in Europe is cultural policy more important than in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Culture is both the cause and the solution to its problems. Cultural arguments were used to divide the country, yet culture might be able to bring the people back together again through initiating cultural programmes that increase mutual understanding and respect.”01 This quotation is from Charles Landry’s report done for European Programme of National Cultural Policy Reviews for 2002. 01 Cultural Policy in Bosnia Herzegovina: Experts Report, “Togetherness in Difference: Culture at the Crossroads in Bosnia Herzegovina,” by Charles Landry; European Programme of National Cultural Policy Reviews; Steering Committee for Culture, COUNCIL OF EUROPE. This report was presented and accepted at the 1st  Plenary Session, Strasbourg, 9 October 2002.

The nowadays attitude towards the past is the key for the solution & non-solution of numerous regional problems particularly in the countries of former Yugoslavia that have – almost through the 20th century – lived in common state and learned common history. After the breakup of the former Yugoslavia new nationalist elites are rewriting history of their countries. The process of overcoming past cannot be truly commenced unless history ceases to be identified with national epic poems, sentimental tales of heroes, myths of eternal heroism and sacrifice. • Excerpt from Dunja Blažević’s lecture De/Construction of Monument. Clash of Memories held in Zagreb, on April 24, 2010.

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories



The complex: between (hi)stories and humanities

The Complex of Srebrenica: Commemorative Performance of National(ity)


would like to begin with a certain, as historians like to say – fact: more than 8 000 men were killed in the July of 1995 in Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia. In terms of the daily production of (hi)stories in Western political discourse – quite a sufficient number of bodies that made Srebrenica part of the symbolical itinerary of western (semi) guilt (I use the term western as defined by both postcolonial and post-socialist critics). The archetypal example of the form of this signifying practice is US president Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo University last year (which was much “praised” in mainstream media): And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.01 Bosnia, in this case, as toponym superior to Srebrenica, is maintained in quotidian usage in various global political relationships and issues! On the other hand, it would be understandable if within the frame of domestic political discourse Srebrenica figured as an issue that was worked out more successfully. Unfortunately, this paper will indicate particular conditions, and first of all - structures, in media and real (commemorative) space, which demonstrate the same political short-sightedness as the one in the already mentioned example of official western discourse. This is, as the title suggests, the first complex of 01 ‘’Text: Obama’s Speech in Cairo.’’ 2009. August 2009 html?_r=2&pagewanted=2.


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Srebrenica represented through official discourse on the basis of earlier mentioned (historical) facts which are not thoroughly worked out, or to use a Freudian term: worked through. Historian Dominick LaCapra, in his interview for Yad Vashem - Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, explains the complexity of the position of historians in similar situations in the analysis of trauma in writings on the Holocaust: Again, the extremes in trying to come to terms with emotional response are full identification, whereby you try to relive the experience of the other, or find yourself unintentionally reliving it, and pure objectification, which is the denial of transference, the blockage of affect as it influences research, and the attempt to be as objectifying and neutral an observer as possible – whether as empirical fact gather or as structural, formal analyst. (LaCapra 147) The apparatus of structural and formal analysis, as a dominant critical approach of this paper, can be understood as another escape to structure. To be honest - it is an escape to certain, but not isolated, structures (of various performances). Hence I won’t try to escape from the complex ethical position of the humanities in general. The Complex of (Bosnian or ex-Yugoslav) humanities in the light of the post-war society, and especially its most dreadful aspects is the second indicated significance of the aforementioned Srebrenica complex and it is best described by LaCapra’s quote. The humanities in the Bosnian context are divided by accusations of being ohne Herzenstakt (with no sensibility), a critique brought against Hannah Arendt by several scholars after the release of her book Eichmann

in Jerusalem, or by legitimate accusations of political involvement that has a significant role in the making of the next complex on my list: the national complex of Srebrenica. PERFORMANCE OF THE NATIONAL COMPLEX In his theory of speech genres, Mikhail Bakhtin perceives differences in the heterogeneous field of speech forms. He discerns: Primary (simple) and secondary (complex) speech genres (understood not as functional difference). Secondary (complex) speech genres – novels, dramas, all kinds of scientific research, major genres of commentary, and so forth arise in (…) cultural communication that is artistic, scientific, socio-political and so on. (Bakhtin 61-62) The performance of those complex (that is, socio-political, scientific or even artistic) genres establishes the social or discursive frame of the Central Commemoration and Memorial as a one-day event and functions not just as a dramatic prelude to the main event of July 11, but it a priori constructs the main event through political discursive performativity by creating a dangerous transmission from the performance of collective national memory to the performance of daily politics. The performativity of the national complex is primarily within the jurisdiction of the ideological apparatus that includes the media, especially the daily paper Dnevni avaz (The Daily Voice) that has a pivotal role in creating the national complex and “victimological rhetoric”. An example of this is the leading article published in Dnevni avaz on the very day of the Commemoration in 2009: Therefore one must go to Potočari, the symbol of Bosniac suffering... It is necessary to say there that Republika Srpska, founded on violence, will not be freed from the spirits of evil until it admits the victimage of Srebrenica, as well as all others. (Ćatić 3) It is easy to designate the course of this form of speech as politically intentional in its attempt to call on a collective act of one nation. But what nation and what act? The key question of this form of utterance and structure of the discursive field of the Commemoration in Srebrenica is: to whom is this message directed at? Understanding,

in the end, always depends on the addressee and the circumstances s/he is addressed in, as well as the appellative course of a certain message or utterance. The performativity of the discourse of this newspaper article, but also of political statements that make the frame of the complex of Srebrenica, functions within a clear dialogical structure. I am referring to dialogue in the structural, and not ethical, sense – a dialogue which is not a dialogue. It presents the structural matrix of communication between (the complex of) the victim and (the complex of) the executioner – in this case between two nations, that are each its Other. The dialogical relation in the performance of the very Commemoration or in what it is preceded by, is always mediated. Therefore, when in a leading article in Dnevni avaz a journalist calls for the acts of (national) pilgrimage to Srebrenica in order to participate in the commemoration and when she calls for the telling of truth (“It is necessary to say there that Republika Srpska, founded on violence, will not be freed from the spirits of evil”), her addressee is not a typical reader (model) of the said newspaper. She or he is merely a mediator to an act that is directed as a “third” in the dialogue, that is, the national Other. A structure of this kind is perhaps best manifested in the existence of parallel commemorations (the day after July 11th a commemoration to Serbian victims from 1992 takes place in the village of Bratunac near Srebrenica) that illustrates the true addressees of specific statements. However, this dialogical “game of victims” is always played out by dominant subjects of power that are not included in the victimage complex of Srebrenica. In the case of the Srebrenica genocide, its surviving and subaltern victims are also the only ones that can be involved in the transference, that is, the working through of trauma and their complex, and not just to act it out. TEARS OF THE MOTHERS OF SREBRENICA There are two very broad ways of coming to terms with transference, or with one’s transferential implication in the object of study: acting out and working through. Acting out is related to repetition, and even the repetition compulsion – the tendency to repeat something compulsively. (LaCapra 142) Now, the national collective, through annual (or even more often) repetition and actualization of trauma, acts Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


out the collective trauma desecrated by daily political “dialogues” and issues mentioned before. In this sense, the “enactors” of trauma are those that keep the position of power which can be easily related to performative narrators of (national) epic poems that abounded in motives of the historical and demonic Other, while the narrator kept the paradoxical position of the omniscient improviser. That role represented a kind of actualization of language of the national past in the present, or as Homi Bhabha indicated, “[t]he language of culture and community is poised on the fissures of the present becoming the rhetorical figures of a national past.” On the example of the commemoration that role is, in an already set structure, played by political representatives of Bosniacs and by their religious leader. The performance of the commemoration is divided in two parts – the secular part in which political leaders deliver speeches (consisting of already mentioned statements), and the religious ritual of burial and prayer for newly exhumed victims of the Srebrenica genocide. However, what I want to stress here is not the dramaturgical continuity between the secular and the religious parts, but the dramaturgical rupture between them, which is the result of the distribution of power on the very space of performance, as in general in political space. What indicates to these relations is the elevated central position of the memorial complex in which religious ceremonies, speeches by politicians or “narrators” are held. The survived victims, primarily women (widows, mothers and sisters) enact their trauma on the graves of their loved ones. In spite of the fact that an exception was made to enable them to participate in the burial (which is forbidden by the Islamic canon), the women remain spatially and politically subordinated to men. In this case women and their performance on the margins of the memorial complex is central indeed, even when they mourn “aside”, are excluded by inclusion. Through their gender-determined liminal position, they break the national homogeneity that ought to be the result of the performance of the national complex. And while the bearers of political power recite drama, the women, mothers, sisters, daughters live through theirs, but without working through it. Regardless of this breaking of national homogeneity, the women’s acting out of trauma remains a part of the national complex; their personal


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

remembrance becomes national memory, their gender role is subordinated to their nation. These subordinations to the national complex is an example of the work of the [a]pparatus of symbolic power, [which] produces a continual slippage of categories, like sexuality, class affiliation, territorial paranoia, or ‘cultural difference’ in the act of writing the nation. (Bhabha 201) A woman’s (victim’s) painstaking narration of her personal story on the pages of the special “Srebrenica” edition of Dnevni avaz becomes part of the national complex, but the narrator of this story of her own maintains the subordinated position because, in the end, her story is read only within the frames of the national complex, but not within the personal victimage complex. The women’s performances and stories are merely one of the aspects of the national complex, and woman – survived victim remains a part of the dialogical structure of the performance of two conflicting nationalities.  • Translated by David Edel

Bakhtin, M.M. Speech Genres & Other Late Essays. Austin: The University of Texas Press, 2002. Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. London & New York: Routledge, 2004. Ćatić, Indira. “Kolona opomena”. Dnevni avaz 10 July 2009. LaCapra, Dominick. Writing History, Writing Trauma. Baltimore & London: The John Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Viehofen Memorial (Mahnmal  Viehofen)

Towards a performative, open and anti-monumental concept of memorials

 from the German verb mahnen, which means to warn, to tip off

Tatiana Lecomte, Postkarten können wir eine pro Person schreiben, St. Pölten, 2010. Courtesy of Tatiana Lecomte and Public Art Lower Austria


n 2009 the Public Art Lower Austria and the city of St. Pölten organized an open international art competition to obtain designs for a site-specific artistic solution for a memorial in St. Pölten – Viehofen. In 1944 and 1945 two labour camps were built there, one for Hungarian Jews and one for the so called Ostarbeiter (‘workers from East’) working in the Granzstoff factory. After the WWII, the existence of the camps was concealed and shrouded in silence for 60 years. The purpose of the art project was to remind people of this forgotten episode01 in the history of St. Pölten. Part of the project is dedicated to the mass grave in the municipal cemetery where the camp victims were buried. There are no visible traces of the labour camp for Hungarian Jews today, while on private grounds. The old barracks of the other camp were torn down and the hollow was flooded to make an artificial lake which nowadays serves as a recreation area. The competition was won by Tatiana Lecomte and Catrin Bolt, two young Austrian artists. Tatiana Lecomte is now in the process of sending approximately 20.000 handwritten postcards over the course of a year to the inhabitants of St. Pölten. They are to bear the historically loaded sentence “I’m well, and doing fine.” This sentence (in German: “Ich bin gesund, es geht mir gut.”) was a standard sentence in use by inmates of concentration camps when they were permitted to send postcards. The motifs on the postcards 01 Italics by the editor

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


relate to the locations defined in the competition: the Viehofener Lake, the grounds of the former Glanzstoff factory, and the mass grave in the cemetery. The project is going to last several months, and will develop incrementally into an interactive commemorative sculpture that involves the population of St. Pölten. The first 2.000 postcards have already been sent and the reactions are numerous. In addition to the mentioned sentence the postcard provides a map to the picture and an email-address as well as a homepage link which has been constructed by the artist. It gives further information about the history of the camps, documents from the inmates, contemporary witnesses and the concept of the project02. Tatiana Lecomte, Postkarten Unfortunately a lot of people do not können wir eine pro Person find their way to the homepage and schreiben, St. Pölten, 2010. Two comments sent to the artist the information given. They feel Courtesy of Tatiana Lecomte threatened and haunted and are and Public Art Lower Austria “I am working at the local post office and I agitated by the fact that someone have seen several of your postcards today could have obtained their address. for the first time. At the first moment They feel as victims not being able I was shocked and a shiver ran down to or not willing to engage with the my body. I thought I was confronted history and the pain of the victims of with the work of a lunatic. Now that I the Second World War. But there are have thought more about the postcards also a lot of very positive responses “Thank you very much for your postcard. and the topic they are touching, I am to the project and a lively discussion It hit me right in the face. I have already convinced that if this initiative catches has started. We are optimistic that heard of the concentration camps close to the attention of only one person, you did this project will leave its traces in the Viehofner Lake and I am interested in a precious work. the memory of the inhabitants of St. In this sense thank you very much and the facts. Pölten both for the present and for the Thank you for your project....”  • I wish you more of such great projects. …” future.

Katrina Petter



Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

City as a Protagonist Dino Igrec

Memory Of The City - Changes Through Space And Time


his is a brief overview of the development of two squares in Zagreb that focuses on specific changes as reflections of time carved into living space. Two Zagreb squares – Victims of Fascism Square and King Petar Krešimir IV Square were constructed in an urbanistically undefined area that served as a fairground in the period between the two world wars. The construction of Victims of Fascism Square occurred first. Planned in 1923, it included the surrounding streets flowing towards it, with an appearance and scale that reflected a new urbanity of then emerging part of the town. Distinguished by the buildings created by famous local architects of the 1930s, this square made a contribution to the identity that Zagreb has today. A building that significantly marks the square is the Meštrović Pavilion.01 It is a distinctive circular building that is emphasised by its central position representing an important monument of cultural heritage in this area. King Petar Krešimir IV Square emerged in 1920s and further construction of the surrounding architecture in a ring formation continued throughout the next decade. 01 The building of the former House of Art (now the Home of Croatian Artists) was created by sculptor Ivan Meštrović, who suggested that instead of the monumental statue of King Petar I. the Liberator, a monumental edifice of public importance should be erected. It was built in 1938 according to the executive designs by architects Harold Bilinić and Lavoslav Horvat.

Photomontage created through OPA association workshop for young citizens Memories – In Space Author: Lucija Adrušić; Mentor: Gordana Koščec Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


King Petar Krešimir IV Square (around 1930s). Photo: courtesy of Zagreb City Museum


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

The proposed concept of the northern facade of the square, i.e., the complex of State secondary schools02 - the State Trade Academy and the State Professional Teachers’ School for Ladies - greatly contributed to the articulation of the space, and still fundamentally accentuates its character. The event which could be stressed as one of a major importance in creating the identity of the King Petar Krešimir IV Square, or one that led to its final recognition, was the first competition for park square decoration in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.03 The park was completed in 1938 as the first modern-designed urban park in that country. That same year, when the General Master Plan of Zagreb04 was completed, the area of Krešimir Square became thoroughly defined as a modern urban space. The square, popularly called among the citizens of Zagreb as ‘Krešimirac’, is the largest square in Zagreb, adorned by modernist architectural realizations05. It is important to mention some specific historical circumstances that these squares went through during their history and which permanently marked the citizens’ remembrance. For both these squares successive changes in their names is characteristic, which again is very indicative of the apparent changes in the national political systems. Thus, King Petar Krešimir IV Square carried this name from 1928 when it was built until 1946 when it was renamed to the General Stalin Square. It lasted until 1950 when the square was renamed to V. I . Lenin Square, that was kept until 1990 when its original name was returned. 02 The building of the State Trade Academy (1931-1938) was designed by architect Zvonimir Vrkljan, enclosing the square on the north side, while it merged its east wing with the State Professional Teachers’ School for Ladies in Stančićeva Street. 03 The author who won was Ciril Jeglič, a landscape architect and the first garden expert in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, responsible for numerous horticultural works in Zagreb between the two wars. 04 Produced by Vlado Antolić and Josip Seissel, the leading people of the Municipal Building Office, and based on the award-winning competition works from 1930. 05 Two public buildings that form a striking panorama of the square and its spatial characteristics reflected the principles of modern architecture in 1930s: the building of the State Trade Academy (today Ministry of Defence) and the building of the Workers’ Association (1935-1938; Šterk, Korka, Kiverov, Krekić). In addition, the park itself reflects modern principles of horticulture.

Photomontage created through OPA association workshop for young citizens Memories – In Space Author: Aisha Bushara; Mentor: Gordana Koščec

The changing of names was particularly delicate with Victims of Fascism Square, mainly because the dispute over its name is still fresh in the minds of the people. Until 1927 it was called Square N, and then it was renamed to King Petar I (Karađorđević) Square. Within the period of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) it was called Square III (1941-1942), followed by Governor Kulin Square (19421946). After the end of the WWII, its name was changed to Victims of Fascism Square, because of the ustasha’s and Nazi’s atrocities committed there during the war. So, when in 1990 it was renamed to the Croatian Great Men Square it provoked a lot of antifascist citizens’ resistance. Since 1990 until 2000 the name of the square was subject of numerous discussions, including antifascist street protests and demands that the square should keep the name given after WWII. Those events ultimately resulted in restoring the name of Victims of Fascism Square that it carries today. In addition, apart from the names, it is important to point out the functional changes of some of the buildings Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


that construct these squares, and represent important contemporary factors for their recognition. The attractive space and location of the building of the State Trade Academy had probably contributed to the decision of the Croatian Ministry of Home Guard of the newly formed Independent State of Croatia (NDH) to settle its headquarters in the building in 1941, and thus violate the integrity of the original coherence of Krešimir Square.06 With the change of the socio-political system after WWII the area was occupied by the V. Military District of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). So far, the building, originally designated for the education of young people, has remained in military use: presently, it is where the Croatian Ministry of Defence headquarters is being accommodated. The situation with Victims of Fascism Square is even more complex. The residential block originally built for the employees of Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts that forms the entire south side is the place where gaols of the old Yugoslav prison later settled. During the existence of Independent State of Croatia (NDH) it served as the infamous prison of the odious Ustaše Secret Police (UNS). From the end of the WWII until 1990 the building was named after Nino Maraković07, and accommodated the student dormitory.08 Especially intriguing is the case with the Meštrović Pavilion. At first, in its place an equestrian monument of the Yugoslav King Petar I the Liberator (Karađorđević) was planned, devised by the king himself.09 But instead, the pavilion was raised, the so-called cake, with the function of the House of Fine Arts. From August 1941 throughout the NDH period, the building experienced drastic changes of purpose: submitted to Muslim community it briefly served as a mosque. For this purpose three minarets were raised around the pavilion, a fountain 06 The project of park at the Krešimir Square is functionally subordinated to the original function of the building of the State Trade Academy. 07 Nino Maraković was a proclaimed hero of the Yugoslav People Liberation Struggle during the WWII. 08 Residential block was built in 1933, designed by architects Edo Šen and Milovan Kovačević. 09 But it is the author of the pavilion who turned the king of his idea, explaining the aversion of the local people towards the existing kingdom.


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Victims of Fascism Square (south side in 1930s). Photo: courtesy of Zagreb City Museum

was added10 (still existing today) and rearrangement of the interior took place. Due to long-term adjustment purposes the mosque was not opened until August 1944. Post WWII years marked the termination of its activity, and minarets

10 Architects Stjepan Planić and Zvonimir Požgaj led the renovation works

name to Museum of the People’s Revolution, and in the 1990’s the building regained its original function. These anomalies (applying the language of physics) in space and time, and the ‘distortion’ of purpose that significantly affect the character, authenticity and the general impression of the city’s urbanity, open up many questions and bring attention to the necessity to reflect on interferences in urban and social context. On the other hand, the totality of events that have left traces, whether they were characterized by positive or negative aspects of human organization of space and society, represent valuable layers of time past. Therefore, remembrance in space reflects politically determined turbulences that followed the past decisions.  •

Reference: Darja Radović Mahečić; Modern Architecture in Croatia 1930’s; Institute of Art History, Školska knjiga d.d., Zagreb, 2007, pages: 285-292 Ivica Župan; Trg u vječnom zagrljaju politike; Vijenac, no. 174, 2.11.2000, Zagreb Ivo Maroević; Zagreb njim samim; Durieux, Zagreb, 1999, pages: 64-89 Zagrebački leksikon 1, 2; editors: J. Bilić, H. Ivanković; Leksikografski zavod Miroslav Krleža, Masmedia, Zagreb, 2006 Zrinka Barišić; King Petar Krešimir IV Square in Zagreb - Origin of Layout, Architecture and Landscaping; University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture, Prostor, no. 23, Zagreb, 2002, pages: 77-92 Vjeran Pavlaković; Conflict, Commemorations, and Changing Meanings: The Meštrović Pavilion as a Contested Site of Memory; University of Rijeka, Croatia

were removed.11 In 1949 the pavilion was transformed into the Museum of National Liberation, when once again the conception of its reconstruction to its devastated many of its original elements.12 In 1950 the pavilion changed its 11 Despite the cessation of Islamic religious activity in the building, exactly that function, though short-lived, marked the building to such an extent that citizens of Zagreb still popularly call it ‘džamija’ (Croatian for mosque) 12 Reconstruction to the new purpose was carried out by the architect Vjenceslav Richter. Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


The places are still the same. The places are not at all the same. It is quite difficult to re-evoke the past.

There is no doubt that an enormous tremor [occurred] in this city with the begining of fascism, that meant an unbelievable braindrain. On one side there was the expulsion and extermination of the Jewish intelligence, on the other side the political female resistance was also threatened by the Nazi terror. After WWII, this resulted in an image of what women ought to be which was a lot more conservative than the image of women ten or even twenty years before WWII. Basically we have not recovered yet. The period of WWII is an extremely aggravating wound in the history of this city.  • Elke Krasny in interview with Sabine Meier interviews/krasny.php, translated by Sonja Leboš

The official politics of memory write the surface of the city which is turned into a public archive. There are many who are not written into this archive for reasons of ideology or gender. To prevent that the ones not remembered sink into oblivion is the constant battle against hegemonial history.  Photos and captions were created through Elke Krasny’s workshop for Prague’s citizens Prague – City of Remembrance Courtesy of Elke Krasny


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Elke Krasny

Walking through Prague & Zagreb to Remember Photos created and memories recalled through Elke Krasny’s workshop for Prague’s citizens Prague – City of Remembrance

This is the view from my balcony – I have lived here for twenty seven years. When I came, Nova scena of the National Theatre was just about to be finished. At that time, twelve families used to live in this building – now there are only four. (…)

AIIR would like to thank to all participants of the workshop in Prague, especially those who shared their routes in the city as well their memories: Lucie Bilderová, Anna Jíšová, Jessica Serran, Dana Vrábliková, Kristyna Zdeslavská

Though the politicians today speak a lot about tradition and future, this not just traditional, but legendary Café Arco, visited daily by Kafka and mentioned often in Reinerová’s writing – is disappearing.

In 1985 or 1986, after my husband had emigrated for the USA, the police came into my house and they wanted the half of my private posession. That was usual thing: if somebody had emigrated, his or her family would have had very difficult times. I did not let them have my things – at the time my husband and me already had lived separately. I had to wait for a year after his emigration to get official divorce.

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


Helmut Herzfeld (1891–1968), more famous as John Heartfield, well-known for his anti-war photomontages. Here, in Betlémská 6, his brother Wieland Herzfeld used to run Malik Verlag (1933-1938). Here, in Prague, Malik Verlag published more than 50 titles, among others work of Brecht, Sinclair and Weiskopf.

This is the school I used to teach in 1980s. Some of my colleagues had severe drinking problem. When I complained to the head schoolmaster, he said he could do nothing. These ladies were wives of important politicians. It bothered me tremendously that somebody who used to come drunk to work was allowed to teach – so I left.  •

Elke Krasny and Viera Glosíková in celebrated Café Montmartre, recreating the atmosphere of Czech-German-Jewish Prague of 1930’.


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Drawing created through Elke Krasny’s workshop for Prague’s citizens Prague – City of Remembrance Author: Jessica Serran More about Serran’s work on Czech identity at Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


Barbara Blasin & Igor Marković

Zagreb Women’s guide

street action, exhibition, book, 2002-2006 Zagreb Women’s guide is a continuous researchartistic project started in 2002/03, for the first time presented to the public at the UrbanFestival in September 2002 and continued with an exhibition at the Galerija Nova and on the streets of Zagreb in October 2003. The most important aim of this project is to save from obscurity of the past, but also of the conformism of history, contribution, influence and lives of women who had participated in the creation of Zagreb or were “merely” a part of its everyday life. Forgotten, anonymous, often surpressed female history is symbolically represented with a selection of “anonymous” biographies illustrating the time in which they had lived.  •


Cinema of Remembrance

Photo: courtesy of Michaela Strumberger


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Michaela Strumberger

The Last Dance


Austria / Croatia, 2002, 53 min

elling the story of one family’s expulsion und resettlement, the documentary The Last Dance provides an intimate glimpse into the culture of the Danube Swabians – ethnic Germans forced to leave their home in former Yugoslavia during and after the Second World War. The film shows a people whose culture is on the brink of disappearing, as well as the experiences of the succeeding generations, whose notion of home and identity is defined by their loss. It is a journey through memories, one in which the filmmaker lets the members of her family tell the story themselves. ‘Write’ said the voice, and the prophet answered ‘For whom?’ and the voice said ‘For the dead, for those whom thou lovest in the past.’ ‘Will they read me?’ ‘Yes, for they return as the future.’ Herder, Letters for the Advancement of Humanity What began as a personal desire to film the story of one’s own family and to capture a vanishing way of life evolved into what Aleida Assmann calls the “ memorial dimension” of the writing of history. The memories of my family, which settled in Austria after the expulsion from former Yugoslavia, represent one, relatively small piece in the mosaic of historiography and should supplement further dimensions such as scholarly research and discourse. A critical writing of history is only possible if such a memorial dimension is included. Memory and remembrance are complementary aspects brought together under one contextual umbrella and should adequately take into account the dimension of time. The family members’ journey back to their former home (as it is chronicled in the documentary) becomes a lively link with the past. It brings them into contact with the changed circumstances of today, both here and there. It unearths a cultural remembrance shared by people in both Austria and Croatia, but like monuments, the staffage figures of history, shows that it is impossible to guarantee that the intended meaning can be rediscovered and understood in its original context. In contrast to central importance of outward appearance for monuments, the natural memory locates itself in the most hidden parts of human soul and

beyond the concept of nation. Upon closer inspection, one notices that belonging to a nation is gradually losing its significance to human experiences. The medium of video made it possible to record a vibrant remembrance in a type of interactive process, for instance, showing re-encounters with friends and acquaintances from the past and thereby providing a perspective on how common history shapes their actions and opinions. A link with the future is made by the image of family joyfully dancing in front of the first house they built in their new homeland. This welcoming of the new that is portrayed in the picture carries within itself the convergence of past, present and future. This snapshot was a point of departure for subsequent work on this documentary. For a future film project I have been compiling an archive of Danube Swabian memories and stories. In this kind of documentation objective, verifiable data takes a subordinate position and is based much more on life stories drawn from interpreted fragments of memories. Form is given to what can be remembered and expressed. This giving of form is the central point; it makes up the core of our lived identity. In my project it is the history of the Danube Swabians, because a direct personal connection exists. Culture only functions as a frame around this existence (das Da-sein – being here/there). My interest lies primarily in the aspects of humanity that allow the political dimensions to appear in a different light and as a result must constantly call into question political action. My motivation in this documenting process corresponds to what filmmaker Roberto Rossellini expressed in his book My Method 01: Only a profound knowledge of humanity, a real and unprejudiced analysis of the feelings, the tenderness, the warmth that one individual can feel for another individual, can lead us to a solution of all the problems we are facing today — problems that are, technically, different from those of other times.  •

01 Roberto Rosselini: My Method. Marsilio Publishers, 1992. Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


Jadran Boban

The Ghosts of Zagreb (2009, 52’) Director: Jadran Boban • Writers: Edin Tuzlak, Jadran Boban • Producer: Kristijan Kaurić • Cinematographer: Jadran Boban • Editing: Jasmina Špićek This film is a parallel journey through streets of Zagreb and memories of five surviving members of one of the strongest illegal anti fascist movements in ocuppied Europe during World War II. They describe those times as horrifying and terrible, but also as the most romantic period of their lives. While the sentiments for Nazi - aligned regime was reviving in contemporary Croatia, they were facing depression and disappointment, revealing fears and reviewing decisions they once made. This documentary becomes a travelogue through a hidden world of spirits that is still present in foyers and yards, on the stairs and in the passages of the old Zagreb, which, just like the men and women who witnessed its history, disappear every day.  • Photo: courtesy of Jadran Boban


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Barbara Blasin

Lunch with Grandma

(2001, 8’) Director, writer, cinematographer, editor: Barbara Blasin

In documentary video form, through the grandmother’s portrait, Lunch with Grandma builds a portrait of a woman born in the first half of the past century. Through the grandmother’s family album, author is bringing to the spotlight women’s interpretation of public and private sphere coming together, encroaching at the same time into history of her everyday life through ritual activity – preparation of lunch. Family (photo) albums are spaces of our hidden past; once opened, they reveal ways of archiving memories while scoring events on the back of the photographs (or in accompanying notes), not necessarily connected with personal moments captured in frame.  •

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories



Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Ivana Keser

Cinema and Remembrance: Archive and Medium of Rumination and Reflection


ilms that deal with memories usually belong to documentaries or feature films, but films that most fundamentally problematise the different modes of representation of memory are actually essay films. Essay film resists definitions as part of a set category and that, just like a literary essay, can be described as a form in itself. The stories in these films are not teleological or continuous, but rather puzzle stories that deal with the construction of collective memories through societal prestructuring of the individual’s memory as a starting point. Drawing on Plato and his Theory of anamnesis that he developed in his Dialogues where he equates learning with remembering, for film essays or cinema of remembrance we can say that “we can only reach the truth by recollecting what we already know but we forgot”. The filmmakers Jonas Mekas, Jean-Luc Godard, John Gianvito and Chris Marker are authors who make (re) constructions of memories in their films. All of the movies represented as authors of cinema of remembrance share an open structure. They belong to reflexive film, the one that does more than simply represent its subject. Film that deeply examines its own methods: filmmakers’ atitudes and perspectives. Cinema of remembrance provides a viewer not only with the content and form of memory, but also with its own directions for use. Such films require recipients to actively participate in the movie. Namely, essayistic mode of filmmaking as an essay flows in different directions and reaches multiple destinations, as seen in example of Jonas Mekas’ film Walden, Diaries, Notes, Sketches (1969).

The film material in such films does not submit to the previous formulated goal, the one the author has already foreseen in his story, but instead the author questions: “What can I do with the footage or reproduction aside from the reason it was made for?” – Thus, before the film editing an author in such a position is in front of his film material as a very first audience member, as we can see in the film (Histoire(s) du cinéma (1999) by Jean-Luc Godard. Cinema of remembrance is also marked by rumination that forces the filmmaker to turn a matter over and over in the mind, to consider, to contemplate, to meditate, to ponder, which is obvious in Gianvito’s film Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (2007), the visual meditation through graves, monuments, memorial places, made without presence of witnesses, without statements or a narrator. Films of memories are characterized by rhisomatic nature: constant moving, wandering thoughts, with no final goal, intention of power posession or spreading a final and dominant discourse. Chris Marker’s film Remembrance of Things to Come (2001), memorial film on photographer Denise Bellon is such a visual archive. Film which is actually a montage of photographs from Denise Bellon’s photo-reportage from the period between two world wars, the proof of Marker’s obsession for documenting history which does not officially exist.  •

Extended abstract of the lecture held on July 2, 2010 in Zagreb Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


Staging Remembrance Photo: AIIR Archive

Sonja Leboš and Jiří Skála reading out of Jiří Skála’s book One Family of Objects. Artist’s Book. Published by JRP | Ringier as part of the series Transit edited by Vit Havranek.


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Monika Bregović

Performing National Identity. The Clash of Social Memory and Trauma in German Documentary Theatre PHOTO: COURTESY OF PATRIZIA DONà


fter Zero Hour, both German states excluded their Nazi past from social memory to forge a new national identity and state. War and the Holocaust slowly fought its way back into public spaces of memory in the 60s, once the economic and political equilibrium was restored. The German documentary theatre played a crucial role in the process: aiming to subvert historical grand narratives, dramatists worked with documents which store “alternative memory” (Burke). Fighting amnesia meant reaching for documents such as Holocaust survivor testimonies, which encompass their traumatic memories. Based on examples from the key works of documentary theatre (Der Stellvertreter by Rolf Hochhuth and Die Ermittlung by Peter Weiss), and drawing on theories of social memory (Burke, Assman, Nora) and trauma (Caruth, Laub, LaCapra), this paper seeks to describe the dialectics of social and alternative (individual, traumatic) memory that can be detected both on the national level, and in the documentary plays themselves. Working with documents which entail alternative versions of the past, the documentary theatre subverted the discourse once needed to support national identity, which is a non-essential, performative construct. The second part of the presentation elucidates the relationship that the plays establish with the historical context they emerged in, and the way the past is brought up to comment on some contemporary issues. The “obscenity” of literary and theatrical representation of Holocaust (Lanzmann, Caruth, LaCapra) raises some aesthetic issues as well.

(abstract of the lecture held on June 3, 2010 in Prague) Hommage a Remington by Patrizia Donà. Part of the performative action in Prague Street 7, carried out on October 30, 2010 Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


THE FESTE THEATRE run by civic association REPT, Brno-Bystrc


Be Free!

performed for the first time in National Theatre Brno - Reduta Theatre on November 2, 2009 non-verbal performance touching the corpus christi sunday, may 31, 1945. about 30000 people were expulsed from brno toward the austrian border. 6000 died on the way.

Photo: Jakub Jíra, Atelier Simpléz, courtesy of FESTE THEATRE


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Story: Jiří Honzírek Actors: Jan Grundman, Barbora Milotová, Kateřina H. Hanzlíková, Vít’a Halška Director: Jiří Honzírek Dramaturgist: Radek Brož Scene: Radka Vyplašilová Music: Vít’a Halška Light-design, projection: Václav Kuropata Design: Martin Poláček Production: Klára Mišunová Production assistant: Veronika Boxanová PR: Šárka Syslová

The first project in the dramaturgical line ‘identity’ was Our Islam, premiéred at Roxy/NoD experimental space in Prague on January 18, 2007. It was nominated for the Performance of the year by Divadelní noviny.

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories



Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Photo: Jakub Jíra, Atelier Simpléz, courtesy of FESTE THEATRE

“we can observe... the life of a typical family... Konrad Beinhauer, an ethnic German, marries Anna Mendelová, an ethnic Czech at the end of WWI. Their daughter Gabriela was born in 1928. The family opted for German nationality in the census of 1930.” Excerpt from the Feste theatre portfolio Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


Performance given at Theatre Vuk Karadžić Belgrade, March 5, 2010

Theatre of Memories – Work-in-progress Belgrade – Buenos Aires – Prague – Zagreb

Production: Association for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Research (AIIR), Zagreb & Association of Multimedia Artists AUROPOLIS, Belgrade Inspired by life and work of Lenka Reinerová Support: City Council for Culture Belgrade and Zagreb City Office for Education, Culture and Sport


Photo: AIIR Archive

Concept: Sonja Leboš Multimedia Concept, Violin: Manja Ristić Video Concept and Editing: Stevan Lung Costume: Magdalena Klašnja Electronics: Ivan Kadelburg Poetry, Voice, Performance: Birgitte Lyregaard Concept and performance: Paul Murray Percussions and Sound Image Concept: Mathieu Calleja Cello: Ivana Grahovac

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


BUDAPEST - SARAJEVO - ZAGREB I came to this brave and beautiful world in Shashalom, a suburb of Budapest in 1920, after he First World War swept by, after the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, after the Russian October and Hungarian Revolutions had taken place and after the Hungarian Socialist Republic had failed. If by any chance a good fairy had been present

at my birth, she might have been horrorstruck at the prospect of a future emerging from such a risky and uneasy background, to which it could be added that in my genes – to say the least – the West was encountering the Orient.  • Excerpt from Eva Grlić’s Memories. Photo: AIIR Archive

...because I think language is an instrument...

Lenka Reinerová

 quoted from 50

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Theatre of Memories – Work-in-progress Belgrade – Buenos Aires – Prague – Zagreb Performance given at Theatre Hall Gorgona, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, April 24, 2010 Concept: Sonja Leboš Performance Concept, Music, Violin: Manja Ristić Video Concept & Editing: Zvonimir Marčić Cello: Ivana Grahovac Sound: Ivan Kadelburg Inspired by life and work of Lenka Reinerová and Eva Grlić

Photo: AIIR Archive

Excerpts from the unpublished English translation of the book Memories by Eva Grlić courtesy of Vesna Domany Hardy Production: Association for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Research (AIIR)

Support: EU Commission – ‘Europe for Citizens’ Programme and Zagreb City Office for Education, Culture and Sport Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


7th January 2010 a jewish neighbourhood in berlin. the jewish museum in berlin. jasenovac. oskar nemon, named after a horse. poland. romania. severed heads propped atop of vertical fence posts of private houses. a jewish wife and her husband, ante pavelić. hana senesh. jewish ladies dressed n their finest clothes cleaning the streets of osijek under coercion. zdenka grünbaum. eva grlić. freight trains. exile. lea deutsch. yellow stars. pink triangles. crooked noses. der tod ist ein meister aus deutschland. hannah arendt. ferenc hoffman and ephraim kishon. anne frank. žuži jelinek. hyperproduction of films on the holocaust. collective guilt and collective accusation. karl jaspers. synagogues on fire. hevenu shalom. memorial monuments. auschwitz. birkenau. bergen-belsen. sachsenhauen. dachau. danilo kiš. numbers. blue and white striped pyjamas. tears. screams of terror. rifling. indifference. a final solution to the final question. denial. corrie ten boom. adandoned children. hidden children. grown up children. the elderly. famine. dysentery. syphilis. lice. gonorrhea. schizophrenia. sexual molestation. gas chambers. wandering. america. russia. britain. france. adolf hitler. göring. goebbels. mengele. eichmann. soap. the warsaw ghetto. total madness. fear. shoah. not a single one of these things did i hear about in school in croatia. i heard about them from my grandmother, my mum, my dad; i read, i felt, i saw, i met the victims. and went to school in germany where i experienced people of my own age feeling directly responsible and guilty for the crimes of the second world war. i found it hard to accept their point of view and talk to them about their inherited guilt. some of them were ashamed grandchildren of proud SS officers. families are forced upon us, i would tell them. our responsibility is to stand against denial and not to ever permit it again. retroactive repentance for others’ deeds, apart from being pointless per se and thus unable to attain redemption does not change the bygone and by producing frustration it jeopardises positive development of what lays ahead. these things are hard to digest. for me, for them, for everyone. reason gave in to emotions even here, and the idea of a nation is understood as a sort of a genetic code.


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

it suffices to only begin thinking these thoughts and my brain bursts forth a multitude fragemented memories, experiences, insights; all without the potential to create a mosaic. because there’s nothing new under the sun. after the civil war, in croatia in the town of vukovar children of serbian and croatian nationality attended the same school at different times. later they were split into two buildings. the public market in vukovar is still divided between serbian and croatian stands. ones trade in croatian kunas and the others in serbian dinars. kindergardens are handled according to the same criteria. there are bars into which some are welcome and streets which others are forbidden to walk. everyone attributes guilt to everybody else, but least to those who sold and left vukovar. in croatia everybody loves vukovar. vukovar falls into the category of special state care. real estate and land property are among the cheapest in the country, but it is easier to love vukovar from zagreb, the capital. and even easier from sydney or toronto. probably because love knows no borders. neither does hatred. here is what i have learned: responsibility towards self is the greatest responsibility towards others. nationality is not a question of genetics, but of concept. the concept of a nation is used to manipulate the masses. where the concept of a nation is absent, a different concept can be used for the same purpose. family is forced upon everyone. ethnicity is forced upon everyone. i strive to experience people outside of the frame forced upon them. emotions escape reason, but our actions shouldn’t. actions can influence emotions. jealousy is a signal of insecurity.

insecurity is a sign that we are not in control.

intelligence is not developed by default.

being out of control teaches us humility.

i am nobody and nothing.

embracing our own weakness opens the way to creativity and maturing.

i am the only thing i have.

merits are not hereditary. those who appreciate us on account of our parents’ merit would also hate us for their mistake. as soon as someone starts appropriating us it means that we are neglecting ourselves.

i am everything i have. it is good as long as i can count on myself. everything is in my head. the limit is in my head. it is easy to lose an hour.

ignoring the pain of others comes back as a boomerang.

a lot can be done in an hour.

pain is not a shareable experience.

time doesn’t exist.

favour is defined by not expecting anything in return.

matter decays.

it is irresponsible to justify the irresponsibility of grownups by their bad childhood upbringing.

when i am old i will remember how i stepped over the curb without thinking.

not everyone has same capacity to cope with trauma.

i might die young.

violence committed by those who have been violated cannot be tolerated.

the world can do without me.

don’t learn when you’re young and you’ll learn the hard way when you’re old. i learned much more outside of school, than at school. at school i predominantly learned how not to do things. one shouldn’t be proud of one’s own knowledge, because there is always somebody out there who knows more. one shouldn’t be ashamed of one’s own ignorance, because nobody knows anything. knowledge without application is luxury. we comprehend through process. true insight brings humility. habit should be at our service and not otherwise. possession of talent does not promise success.

i without the world a bit harder. i can still determine how much of me the world will have at its disposal. i can still determine how much i need the world. the earth is overpopulated. humans are among the worst catastrophes ever to have occurred on the earth. humans are part of nature. personal opinion is often recycled. so are experiences : people in croatia are for the greatest part not ashamed of their actions, and the consequences of their grandfathers’ deeds are safely buried together with them.  • ena schulz

money is yet another form of energy. Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


My aunt Micky (María Rosa Sichel) going trough letters in her personal archive to show me information related to her father´s (my great uncle Ernst) arrival to Argentina in 1931 at the age of 25 (the first in our family to leave Germany).


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Florencia Fernandez Frank

Bodies of Memories


am an artist and a teacher. I live and work in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I was born and I have lived for my whole life. I also hold a German passport. And yet, I do not speak German language. That opens a simple question: How are stories, tales and histories being built by human beings…and also, how stories, histories and tales build and transform human existence? The story about my participation MnemosyneTheatre of Memories project starts, of course, with a trip and an encounter. I met Sonja Leboš in 2008, during the period she was doing research and presentation of the AIIR projects in Buenos Aires. Something about these projects and the open invitation to participate clicked and echoed through my own interests and sensitivity. Since then we have exchanged proposals and ideas to come out with an open-end project that somehow interweaves concepts of remembrance, identity, migration, personal histories and future. To emphasise the aspect of European memories living outside Europe, we started to work with one of the texts of Lenka Reinerová and related it to an intuitive investigation about my family that left Germany for Argentina around 1935. My family was one of the many German families leaving their country in order to avoid persecution of Jewish people. Again something clicked here: the Reinerova’s text was written in Prague in German language, the language of my ancestors, the language that I do not understand. So, I tried to convince my mother to translate it to me. Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


My mother, an Argentine woman, now almost 65 years old was born in 1945 in a German speaking family in Buenos Aires. She had learned to speak German before she learned to speak Spanish. German language that she grew up with had been “exported” from Germany together with my grandparents and grand grandparents during their trip from Hamburg to Buenos Aires. Languages, as any other human aspect of culture change, grow and melt in contact with new contexts. My mother did not feel confident enough to do the translations and refused to cooperate in many different ways. I could only get her doing half a page and telling me “all this is nonsense, I do not understand what this is all for”. “Exactly”, I thought: are we capable of getting into something without knowing where are we supposed to be led to? Are we in posession of skills for searching and researching into aspects of our sensitivity and histories? Truth? Objectivity? Traces… For more than two years I worked with my family photographs, home-videos and attempts to translate interviews that I had with my mother, my aunt and my uncle. I took a lot of images of different objects that me and my family treasured for decades... IMAGES and WORDS. Objects and scents that might instigate our intuition. Waking up our bodies... Allowing ourselves to be fragile, to be powerful, to lose and to win... The story of migrations, the story of communicating with someone different…  •

Me and my mother´s feet standing on Maschwits´ grass. Me and my mother´s hand look alike. As my grandmother use to look (at our weekend house, in Maschwits)


Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

Argentinean Police certificate of good behavior for my great-grandfather Abraham Sichel presented to the immigration offices to be able to invite their family (Elli and Ernst Lissa and their kids Frederic and Dora) to come to live in Argentina. 1938. They finally made it to the USA.

Photos: courtesy of Florencia Fernandez Frank Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


Mnemopolitics. Mnemotopias. Mnemopoetics Memory will be the interface between appearance and disappearance, between nothing and everything, between away and here. ..., we have to create new screens, new windows, new interfaces, new sense organs... From a conversation with Shilpa Gupta, THE MEDIA OF ABSENCE, by Peter Weibel. In Shilpa Gupta. Why do I remember, edited by Nancy Adajania. Prestel: Munich - Berlin London - NY


ven a superficial investigation on urban mnemotopias in Europe, shows that the very important, again dedicated to WWII, were produced in Berlin and Vienna at the verge of the millenium. Both former German Minister for Culture Michael Naumann and deputy in Vienna City Council for Culture Peter Marboe, were unanimous about the following: creating monument projects dedicated to the remembrance of the extermination of Jewish people in Europe was the most important cultural and political task of their political mandates’.01 We are talking here about the beginning of the 21st century: Rachel Whiteread’s monument on Jewish Square in Vienna was finished in 2000, and Stellenfeld-Serra-Eisenman’s monument in Berlin was finished in 01 Uhl, H. ‘Gedaechtnis’ und die Wiederkeht des Denkmals in der Postmoderne, in Hintergrund 42, Denkmal, Wienna, March 2009, p. 9-15. Translated by Sonja Leboš.


2005. It is also to be mentioned that Whiteread’s monument in German language is depicted as Mahnmal (from the German verb mahnen, which means to warn, to tip off ) while monument in Berlin is Denkmal (from the German verb denken, which means to think). Where are we warned and where are we to think? In Ruta and Monument, two-channel video-installation with additional text, Croatian visual artist Renata Poljak02 filmed a guide talking to a group of tourists next to the Denkmal in Berlin, while at the same time the camera was capturing the sound of tourists exchanging trivialities, without any wish whatsoever to engage themselves in whatever the monument should have made them think over. Unlike in Berlin or Vienna, Prague has not been given a trauma memorial connected to WWII of Viennese or Berlin size, though that city too was thoroughly cleansed. Seems to be that there, at least in public space, the trauma of communism prevailed. Zagreb has no urban mnemotopias of the kind. Concentration and killing camps of WWII across Europe are becoming focus of the massive tourist gaze, or in the more dangerous case, as mnemotop Jasenovac in Croatia, they are becoming the places for commemoration, but also for 02 Monument.html

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories

generating old/new abhorrence. ‘Experience teaches us that formal commemorations, mechanical repetition of rituals of public remembrance perhaps serve more to institutionalized oblivion than to chatarsis of remembrance’.03 The possibility that ‘the past becomes the curtain that shadows the present, instead of revealing it and becomes a justification for inaction’04 is ominous. To remember as a European today means to put together the pieces of dis-membered totalitarianisms, one different from another, and again somehow cruelly same. ‘Remembering is never a quiet act of introspection. It is a painful remembering, putting together of the dis-membered past to make sense of the trauma of the present’.05 How to make sense of the trauma of the present, no matter in Italy where it is possible that one day only Berlusconi’s news are published and broadcast, like it happened on July 9, 2010, or in Croatia, where it 03 Kertész, I: Jezik u progonstvu. Zagreb: Durieux. 2004, p. 146-147, Translated by Sonja Leboš. 04 Tzvetan Todorov in Chiodi, L. Bad Memories. Sites, symbols and narrations of the wars in the Balkans, in Bad Memories. Sites, symbols and narrations of the wars in Balkans. Osservatorio Balcan e Caucaso, 2007. p. 9-13 05 Bhabha, H. Remembering Fanon in foreword to Franz Fanon’s, Black Skin, White Masks. London: Pluto Press, 1986.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Photo: Stella Leboš

is possible that by ustasha ideology aroused gang keeps a whole TV crew as hostages, without police intervening, as it happened on August 5, 2010 - the infamous anniversary of Storm action, is a difficult task. Is it possible to make sense of trauma? Is it possible to de-construct solidified traumas? Is it possible to touch our deepest bodily trauma, connected directly to the trauma of our ancestors? ‘I started thinking about trauma memorials in the days immediately following 9/11 2001...’ says Laurie Beth Clark in her article Placed and Displaced: Trauma Memorials.06 Of course, people turn to trauma 06 Clark, L. Placed and Displaced: Trauma Memorials, in Hill, Leslie and Paris, Helen (ed.) Performance and Place. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. p. 129-138

Vienna’s Holocaust Memorial. Photo: AIIR Archive

memorials after have gone through a trauma themselves. Clark argues that ‘the use of »educational alibis«’ are there to ‘counteract the suspect nature of »trauma tourism«’ (ibid). Temporal and corporeal engagement of spectators is inherent, according to Clark, to the staging of cultural memory. Spectators engage in ‘never again’ and ‘making common cause’ strategies of those educational alibis, and interactive technologies are used to ‘channel the participatory impulse’ (Clark). Simultaneously, ‘never again’ occur in some spots of the world still unspoiled by mass-tourism gaze. To introduce a shift in meaning, to extend staging of political memory to staging of cultural memory, where the spectator’s acting-out bridges the gap between ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ and becomes participatory on more than a symbolical level, seems

hardly feasible. Mnemosyne - Theatre of Memories has the ambitious task to build that bridge, drawing out profoundly on the experiences of Cybercinematography07 project. In making us aware what happened, the most reliable sources seem to be in the field of mnemopoetics (like memoir prose of Lenka Reinerová and Eva Grlić) including the poetics of oral testimonies, which hopefully could make us understand existing solidified, and conceptualize new and more open-work forms of mnemotopias. Consequently, alteration of detrimental national mnemopolitics could follow, in order to transform the multiethnical European community into a community with common pasts and, subsequently, common futures. In 07

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


Cybercinematography performed in Rijeka, June 2009. Photo: AIIR Archive

the preface to Stefano Petrungaro’s book, Stuart J. Woolf mentioned that European Commission already had proposed common European history reader. Unfortunately, it seems that national histories are still too important for the most members of the Community, or, as Woolf says: ‘history readers are obviously resistant to recent historiography’08 so there is no common European history for young people today. I can nothing but believe that this is going to change in the nearest future. Because ‘questions of translation are among the most urgent and rewarding issues of our time, if one is not afraid of 08 Stuart J. Woolf in Petrungaro, S. Pisati povijest iznova. Hrvatski udžbenici povijesti (1918-2004), Zagreb: Srednja Evropa, 2006. p. VII, translated from Italian original by Franko Dota; interpreted to English by Sonja Leboš


getting lost among the tongues and stories’.09 In the meantime, we can rely on intercultural projects like this to produce platforms of instant knowledge for better mutual understanding through networking, gatherings, reflection and exchange.  • Sonja Leboš

09 Holmes, B. Escape the Overcode. Activist Art in the Control Society. EindhovenZagreb-Istanbul: Van Abbemuseum Public Research 2 and What, How & For Whom / WHW, 2009. p. 39

Mnemosyne – Theatre of Memories


Theatre of Memories / Phase 1: Getting Together