What is it about?!


Some societies have the opportunity to freely express their opinion, to ask questions, to explore and to discover facts either through books, radio stations, social networking media, cinematographic media or other. Since the democratic revolutions took place, these societies secured freedoms of expression, which allowed for the representations of historical events to spread even more than before in and across countries.

Of course, who chooses which event is important (and which one is unimportant), and thus, what is to be communicated to society, depends on authorities, such as the state, organized religion, science, etc. These authorities often determine what becomes the official History. Here, speaking about “history’, the capital H / non-capital h refers to the question of who has the right to produce official histories, and to decide what (and who) shall be remembered.

History (with capital H) is problematic since history is much richer and many important events are reduced to the position of unofficial history. Giving more importance to history (non-capital h) allows avoiding dominant ideologies and hegemonic discourses, and supports historical diversity. If a person does an act, or poses a question, or makes an announcement on one day that affects a number of people, this act is important enough to be considered a historical moment. Afterwards, people might still remember this moment, turning it into history. This can be a revolutionary act, or an utterance from one single person, strong enough to be listened by some people and not to be stopped. Whether it is important or not, all the facts are worth being perceived as historical. Even for a society where the state chooses not to consider it as a History, people can resist and remain responsible for what history is.

The project’s intervention-interference takes place at Nicosia’s public spaces and invites pedestrians to participate in it, by listening to recorded historical events and using painting techniques to express their interpretations. The main idea behind the audio fragment being played is to make visible the emotional outcome of the person’s contact with the historical event(s). After connecting to a selection of Historical announcements, related to war, peace, science, arts, technology, music, sports, medicine etc. in different languages, the listeners who come in contact with these fragments are then invited to express their thoughts and impressions through painting. At first, the listeners do not know what the announcements are about. Only later is this information shared.

Painting is the imprinting medium of the participants’ feelings or thoughts while they are listening to the material. Choosing a colour and different kinds of materials, the participant creates an emotional translation of the audio fragment(s). Each colour and material represents an emotion, a thought, a reaction, … This project is trying to evoke the participants’ thoughts through sound, and inviting them to express themselves through painting instead of using writing, papers, books, speaking or sharing of opinions. The project is an open invitation for participating in one of Nicosia’s public place. The project works towards the democratization of History, opening up official narratives and giving people a means of expression in the narration of history.

We would like you to watch this Elena Volina produced video, presenting footage of the participatory painting performance, uploaded on vimeo.com/247020148.
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