History it is undeniable and unchangeable, but our interpretations are changing. Thus, it becomes clearer that without a rational confrontation with the interpretations of history, there is no ontological history. (Todor Kuljić)
How do we remember events from the past? What do we remember? Family albums or school textbooks? Celebrations or commemorations? Stories of our ancestors or stories from the neighborhood? The artist Stefana Savić is a guest at the National Museum in Kraljevo and within the project “The House of Unforgettability” invites fellow citizens to share their memories of marking October 14th, the day of commemoration for the victims of mass shootings in Kraljevo, conducted by the Wehrmacht in 1941. The conversation will take place on October 15th, 2021, between 4 and 8 pm, at the National Museum Kraljevo.
“The House of Unforgettability” is a part and the beginning of an artistic work that deals with a historical event and its perception today. It explores the boundary between private and collective memory, between memory and remembrance. The project aims to open a space dedicated to the memory of the city, the memory of its citizens, within the institution of the museum, whose primary function is to collect and preserve artifacts and for the benefit of history and truth, to remember not only the event as such but also its interpretation, intended for our memory.
As sociologist Todor Kuljić points out, memory is related to an individual’s emotional and psychological relationship to experience, while remembrance is more related to the social and cultural context. Unintentional and unconscious perception and reaction can be parts of memory but not remembrance. Memory makes a meaningful relationship to the past. By its nature, it is related to those institutions that preserve and transmit the contents of the past. The institutionalization of the culture of memory begins with the transition of memory into cultural memory.
Certainly, the most tragic event in the history of Kraljevo is October 14th, 1941, which to this day wanders from one meaning to another. It could be said that the interpretation, politicization, or culture of the memory of the event itself changed through the time in which the event itself sought its place in our memory, in the collective memory.
Ideological patterns of forming and preserving the collective memory affect the memory of the individual and they are in some way constantly permeated. It can be said that memory is a subjective act, but one that is socially organized and mediated. Collective memory is not the sum or average of individual memories, but an expression of the supra-individual needs of a group at a given moment.
The “The House of Unforgettability” is precisely the space that gives equal importance to the descendants and our memory of them. On the one hand, to remember our ancestors, and on the other hand, to re-examine our collective memory in relation to them. Because the past is as far away as we do not mention it.