Nemanja Cvijanović
Monument to the Memory of the Idea of the Internationale, 2010
Interactive sound installation, dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist
According to the artist's design, his Monument to the memory of the idea of the Internationale begins with a little music box which is silent until the moment a viewer comes up and starts turning its handle. The instrument plays the Internationale. The music is picked up by a microphone, then travels to the other premises through the other microphones, and so on. At the end of its way the revolutionary hymn becomes more audible but its sound is increasingly distorted and transformed. The older generations, who lived under real communism, remember this powerful melody played by a symphony orchestra, but now it sounds as a feeble and faltering echo. And indeed, the idea of the Internationale remained only in people's memory now as a phantom reminder of a long gone epoch and its utopian ideals.

In fact, the idea of Communism was first presented to humanity as a specter: "A specter is haunting Europe – the specter of communism". This is the first line of Karl Marx's Manifesto of the Communist Party. However, at the time when Marx wrote these words the specter of Communism was looming somewhere ahead while today its phantom quality is seen as a proof that it belongs to the past. And yet, not being quite alive this specter is not quite dead either. The more insistently we repeat that something is gone the more surely we return it into the world of the living. The specter continues to live among us as evidence that the farewell ceremony is not over yet, that the past is still relevant and still determines our present in one way or another. Moreover, the past with its utopian perspectives is all the more important for us today because we live in the epoch which has no future of its own. Thus the only future available to us is the one which we had in the past.

Pertinently we could recall the words of Jacques Derrida: "Humanity pay dearly for an unthinking co-existence with spirits but the idea that they can do away with spirits will cost them even more dearly." Nemanja Cvijanović compels each one of us to think about it at the moment we start turning the handle of the music box.
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