Breakfast, 1936

Budapest Pathe

Kissing Scene, 1948, 1992

Mom in Canada, 1957

Stocks Brochure Page

Rumanian Monthly Budget

At the Border Train Station

An Anecdoted Archive from the Cold War, 1993

"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 cultural/political perspectives.

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 data projector.

Production Credits
George Legrady, Rosemary Comella, HyperReal Media Productions, Assisted by Paul Thompkins, Adrian Fernandez, Andrea Schwartz, Judy Sitz, Gordon Saint-Clair

"Verbindungen/Junctions", Palais des beaux-arts de Bruxelles, Belgium (1998)
"George Legrady: From Analogue to Digital", National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (solo, 1997/98)
"Everybody's Talking", Gemeentemuseum, Helmond, Netherlands, (1996)
"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, (1994)
Ars electronica '94, Linz, Austria, (1994)
"In|Out of the Cold", Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, (1993)