Text topic: Esthetization of Politics and Politization of Art
Text author: Милица Божић Маројевић
While searching for new identities, states created in the territory of former Yugoslav republics have been trying to achieve and ensure their own interpretation of the past, rich with dissonant heritage. This process has been very slow, as the new countries do not have transparent cultural policy, so the problems and issues related to policies of memories are rarely publicly discussed and the establishment of clear, generally accepted national strategies or legislations is not in sight. Whether they preserve the past or interpret it in the forms of monuments or other types of commemorations, these interventions in public spaces have become very important for establishing communication of different social groups and forming of their values. The reason is simple – the connection between collective memory and collective oblivion is causal. Public memory always involves suppressing some other memory and vice versa. Memorialization, as a process, is deeply politicized. It maps the political, cultural, historical and social reality in a given country, as the ruling elites, especially the political ones, have decisive influence on why we should remember someone or something. This means that the society will not remember everything, but mainly those events, period or persons that ruling elites mark as important and they will be remembered in a certain (subjective and arbitrary) way. Even though that does not necessarily mean that ruling elites have negative intentions, deleting of old and construction of new historical narratives is often the case. This paper provides a brief review of current memorialization and commemorative practices and presents recommendations on how to deal with them in the future. What, when and how dissonant heritage should be remembered must not be defined without participatory approach to the problem, which involves public discussion of all stakeholders, starting with the local community, professionals in different subjects, through civil society and all the way up to the decision makers.