Volume 6, 2015
(Dis)Embedding. The Institutionalization of the Social Memory of Totalitarian Pasts
Participatory Cultures of Remembrance
The Artistic Memory of the Communist Past in Romania and Bulgaria
This paper examines the participatory trend in cultural memory practices, focusing on the participatory artistic memory of communism in Romania and Bulgaria from a comparative perspective. On the one hand, these participatory artistic memory projects examine the ways in which ordinary people and contemporary artists share their memories of the communist past outside of the officially sanctioned interpretations, aiming to foster their own version of “monument” that does not necessarily follow the ossifying politics of monuments. On the other hand, a participatory memory culture does not always necessarily reflect the unequal cultural capital of the participating social actors and the dissimilar political commitments. This mnemonic practice ought not to be exclusively associated with the struggle between the narratives of the elites and the cultural expressions of those marginalized. Participatory memory practices might also facilitate cordial encounters among persons with dissimilar political commitments and unequal cultural capital.