The Partisan Counter-Archive: Retracing the Ruptures of Art and Memory in the Yugoslav People's Liberation Struggle.Gal Kirn
, 2020, scientific monograph
Abstract: Mere decades after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the promise of European democracy seems to be out of joint. What has become of the once-shared memory of victory over fascism? Historical revisionism and nationalist propaganda in the post-Yugoslav context have tried to eradicate the legacy of partisan and socialist struggles, while Yugonostalgia commodifies the partisan/socialist past. It is against these dominant ‘archives’ that this book launches the partisan counter-archive, highlighting the symbolic power of artistic works that echo and envision partisan legacy and rupture. It comprises a body of works that emerged either during the people's liberation struggle or in later socialist periods, tracing a counter-archival surplus and revolutionary remainder that invents alternative protocols of remembrance and commemoration. The book covers rich (counter-)archival material – from partisan poems, graphic works and photography, to monuments and films – and ends by describing the recent revisionist un-doing of the partisan past. It contributes to the Yugoslav politico-aesthetical “history of the oppressed” as an alternative journey to the partisan past that retrieves revolutionary resources from the past for the present.
"The material of this archive of anti-fascist struggle in what would become Yugoslavia bursts with vitality. Through photographs, poems, drawings, dance, and song, we live the terrors and joys of these young women and men who risked their lives for freedom. This is brilliant work, a rescue of local history passed over by official memory, that sustains an unrelenting focus on questions of right or wrong in political struggle, and it is the archival evidence that provides the answers. Kirn’s account is urgent reading, given the racialized nationalism of our time." – Susan Buck-Morss, CUNY Graduate Center
"The Partisan Counter-Archive is a politically outstanding art history. But it is also an insightful political history based on joining the dots between oppressive and emancipatory cultural narratives. The outcome of exemplary research, the book describes and explains the excision of Yugoslavia’s antifascist struggles from public memory all the way to the legitimisation of fascism in the region today. As such, this intellectual effort is highly relevant to understanding the global advance of totalitarian capitalism in the 21st century, the techniques of anti-communism and their ties to nationalism, but also the role of history-writing in countering our predicament. And a warning: this is an affective read, as the injustice perpetrated against the antifascist dead is made palpable. If you feel political anger, it is justified; and it can be used to change our history-to-be." – Angela Dimitrikaki, The University of Edinburgh
Keywords: Partisan art, memory of revolution, critique of historical revisionism, partisan surplus, Yugoslav People's Liberation Struggle, cultural empowerment, Yugoslav socialism, partisan monuments
Published in RUNG: 19.08.2020; Views: 1904; Downloads: 0
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