Pinning down our lives

The Hard Facts project evolves around a universal experience: how the particular objects that people keep in their possession make it easier for them to cope with the transience of their lives. People tend to pin down special moments and events in their lives, sometimes also by obtaining and keeping an object that serves as a reminiscence.

We would like to research this phenomenon first in Slovenia, Croatia, and Spain. The ‘official’ history is a subject to change. These shifts, aggressively introduced by the politicians and media and driven by very specific ideologically charged projects, address and reshape our intimate notion of the past.

In ex-Yugoslavian republics we have been witnessing strong yugonostalgic tendencies contrasted by the attempts to discredit or wipe out this or that ‘inappropriate’ interpretation of historic events. The historians and museum curators that deal with the 20th century history report that it has been only recently that people find it possible to go public with their family possessions from the WWI (on which a special Europeana project profits). It is clear that the half-time of traumatic events is longer than life-time…

The same battle goes on in Spain, predominantly in relation to the Franco regime and its omnipresent impact on the everyday life. On 15 October 2011, however, a demand to change these paradigms kicked off from Puerta del Sol square. It seems as if each generation claims its own heroic events but sometimes these can be also uncritically inherited and glorified (e.g. 1968 protests).

Why is the Hard Facts project needed?! We believe that it can, in fact, make these controversies visible through the research, field trips, displays and publications. Our memories and interpretations of past events in our lives are a powerful mobilising force.

Let’s drop the ‘official’ newspeak and use them!

Alenka Pirman, Jani Pirnat, Juan de Nieves, Nemanja Cvijanović

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