Context & Identity in Contemporary Hungarian Art

Reimagining the near past and constructing local identities. A Fulbright project by Linnea West (2012-13)

Transforms Documents into Monuments

quotesY“…history, in its traditional form, undertook to ‘memorise’ the monuments of the past, transform them into documents, and lend speech to those traces which, in themselves, are often not verbal, or which say in silence something other than what they actually say; in our time, history is that which transforms documents into monuments. In that area where, in the past, history deciphered the traces left by men, it now deploys a mass of elements that have to be grouped, made relevant, placed in relation to one another to form totalities. There was a time when archaeology, as a discipline devoted to silent monuments, inert traces, objects without context, and things left by the past, aspired to the condition of history, and attained meaning only through the restitution of a historical discourse; it might be said, to play on words a little, that in our time history aspires to the condition of archaeology, to the intrinsic description of the monument.”

-Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge

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This entry was posted on April 15, 2013 by in Quote.
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