| An Anecdoted Archive from the Cold
"An Anecdoted Archive from the Cold War" is an interactive
CD-ROM and computer-media installation project that explores the inscription
of historical narrative through the process of archive construction.
Born in Budapest in 1950 near the end of the Stalin era and having
grown up in Canada in the sixties' counter culture movement, the "Anecdoted
Archive" reflects my particular hybridized history in relation
to the Cold War. This non-linear index, or narrative features early
1950's East European, personal and official Communist material in
the form of home movies, video footage of Eastern European places
and events, objects, books, family documents, Socialist propaganda,
money, sound recordings, news reports, identity cards, Western media
reports, etc. They are part of my collection of things and stories
related to the Cold War that I have gathered during the past 20 years.
These items, in the form of over sixty stories, have been arranged
thematically in eight rooms superimposed on the original floor plan
of the former "Workers' Movement" museum in Budapest, the
official propaganda museum of the Communist Party. The museum space
currently houses the Peter Ludwig collection and the Museum of Contemporary
Art. The original contents of the former museum have been placed into
storage since 1990 or moved into the Museum of Contemporary History.
The project's primary intent was to give coherent form to the diverse
set of references and "invested objects" at hand that defined
my sense of history following the collapse of the Berlin wall which
coincided with the death of my father. I am not a historian, sociologist,
archivist or museologist but made use of methodologies borrowed from
these disciplines to produce this interactive archive. It is not intended
as an official history. It is rather about a way to situate stories
through technological media. For instance, to create a platform where
one's stories can engage in discourse with official history since
one of the capabilities of the digitization process is that it reshapes
information, erasing differences traditionally easily identifiable
as belonging to official or personal documents.
Another component of the project was to explore the transformation
of narrative construction and the play between diverse ideological
sub-texts effected through the impact of digital, non-linear media.
Not only to produce a work that raises questions about the politics
of story telling but also to consider the politics of audience reading.
Based on chance, and the choices that viewers follow, each viewer
walks away with a slightly different story from this Archive based
according to their own ideological beliefs (family life, communist
propaganda, pro-Western, etc.) In other words, the sequence and choices
that each viewer selects becomes a visible reflection of their own
Interactive media and the digital environment are dependent on metaphor
as the mode by which information, transformed back and forth from
screen to memory, are given meaning. The "Anecdoted Archive"
narrative also functions through a recognizable metaphor that makes
access to the information meaningful: the museum as an architectural
model and the museum floorplan as a conceptual space. This reference
charges the objects and stories in the work as the metaphor reference
reminds us of the museum's cultural function, as a site of memory
for the inscription of the social collective imagination and as a
site of representation and power.
The Archive requires a semi-enclosed space minimum 3m x 4m, walls
painted charcoal gray, Pantone #446. An index of the Archive's contents
are featured on the wall in white transfer lettering (Univers 57 Condensed).
The computer image is projected large scale on the wall allowing for
larger audience access.
Macintosh Powerpc with CD-Rom drive, monitor
(for setup only), 2 Fostex amplified speakers or equivalent, LCD
George Legrady, Rosemary Comella, HyperReal Media Productions, Assisted
by Paul Thompkins, Adrian Fernandez, Andrea Schwartz, Judy Sitz,
"Verbindungen/Junctions", Palais des beaux-arts de Bruxelles,
"George Legrady: From Analogue to Digital", National Gallery
of Canada, Ottawa (solo, 1997/98)
"Everybody's Talking", Gemeentemuseum, Helmond, Netherlands,
"Burning the Interface", Museum of Contemporary Arts,
Sydney, Australia (1996)
V2 DEAF Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands (1995)
"Obsessions: from Wunderkammer to Cyberspace", 20th Foto
Biennale Rijksmuseum, Enschede, Netherlands, (1995)
"George Legrady: Interactive Media Art", Rovaniemi Fine
Arts Museum, Rovaniemi, Finland (solo, 1995)
Interactive Media Festival, Los Angeles (1995)
"Les Hypermédias: revue virtuelle 12", Centre Georges
Pompidou, Paris, France (1994)
"Artifices 3 Biennale", Salle de la Légion d'Honneur,
Saint-Denis, France (1994)
ISEA'94, Helsinki Museum of Contemporary Arts, Helsinki, Finland,
Ars electronica '94, Linz, Austria, (1994)
"In|Out of the Cold", Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena
Gardens, San Francisco, (1993)