Artists: Nicole Hewitt, Huda Takriti, Nonument Group
Curator: Lara Reichmann
13. 1. and 14. 1. at 8 pm: Neja Tomšič / Nonument Group: Circle (in Stara mestna elektrarna; production: Bunker)
20. 1. at 7 pm: opening of the exhibition with a performative reading by Nicole Hewitt, Vida Guzmić and Ivan Slipčević
25. 1. at 6 pm: viewing of the exhibition with the curator Lara Reichmann
8. 2. at 6 pm: viewing of the exhibition with the curator Lara Reichmann
Somewhere on the periphery of cities, in the depots of institutions, time stands still. In dark rooms with optimal conditions for eternal preservation, the remnants of the past are layered like sediments, neatly stored in cardboard boxes. Although they mainly deal with the deceased and stagnant, these places feel like a kind of uncanny cradle of our collective memory, where archivists perform the duties of doulas, birthing new-old narratives. As Pierre Nora argues, “the modern memory is above all archival. It relies entirely on the materiality of the trace, the immediacy of the recording, and the visibility of the image.” But the vast time capsules of museums, libraries and galleries serve not only to record our history but also bear witness to the insatiable human need to document, collect and classify. For the first time, the world wants to and can record and archive (almost) everything. While plugged into an all-encompassing global archive, the history of humanity is being written 24/7 at the speed of 5G. But even as the never-ending process of recording and storing continues, as institutional archives merge and morph into a more fluid form with the wild west of internet historicising and data harvesting, multiple preemies – untold stories – are unable to be delivered and stored among the cardboard boxes of established historical narratives. It is only when we walk past the last row of metal shelves of these repositories, bending under the weight of history, that we can discern the outlines of the overlooked places, erased people and forgotten events, too subtle to even call traces.
The exhibition Anyways, soon everything will be forgotten treats archives as living porous forms open to different readings. The artists Huda Takriti and Nicole Hewitt and the artist collective Nonument Group take on the role of archivists and storytellers on the hunt for the remnants of a past whose course is unclear, its evidence scarce, and, in places, non-existent. In their projects, they bring together a variety of archived and altered material for reconstruction, carving out a space for omitted stories. Utilising fiction, the artists sketch out what supposedly happened in a flawed, almost coy way. Selected projects revisit and build upon the ruins of the past. They explore the process of historicising and the role of the image as evidence in archives and the wider collective memory.
Based on the story of a failed attempt to document an aeroplane hijacking by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the video Refusing to Meet Your Eye seeks to address the position of unexplored and undocumented traces of the past. By combining archival footage with animations consisting of seemingly flooded depots and parts of the blown-up plane floating in space, the project frames a sometimes fragmented narrative and questions the process of collective “truth-making”. Viewing the image as an act rather than a document, Huda Takriti blends a computer-generated image of the PFLP hijacking into a collection of photographs documenting the significant historical events of 1969. An intervention that could be read as an act of contamination reflects on the possibilities that images add to the notion of the archive.
The Circle emerged from a theoretical and spatial investigation of public parks and offers an oral record interweaving personal impressions and memories with facts about three sites: Antoniadis Park in Alexandria, a former military polygon used as a children’s playground in Ajdovščina, and a park for railway workers in Cluj. The project by Nonument Group explores parks as vibrant hubs of everyday life in urban areas, where the stories of the little people play out in the broader socio-political context of the city. A semi-personal description takes us through what remains of three places, digging into the ground and uncovering the layers of different personal and historical narratives that have played out in these places. The project lays out a vague path between sculptures that could be understood as reminiscences of bygones – dwellings for the memories of the forgotten past that allow the visitor to imagine the described places and rebuild on the remaining ruins.
Based on the life stories of many overlooked women caught up in larger systems, Nicole Hewitt‘s project This woman is called Jasna creates a multi-layered landscape of war, courtrooms and relationships between personal and official history, the present and the past. Depicted in a hybrid form of performance, text, video and an extensive image collection, the project follows the life of Jasna – from her twenties spent in Zagreb at the beginning of the Yugoslav war to her late forties working in The Hague at the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) as an administrator and witness handler, participating in the trials of the same war she experienced in her youth. Ten episodes interweaving fragments from her private life and transcripts of court testimonies explore different forms of representation: analogue and digital photography, still life, the life of objects, forensic evidence, language and lies; exploring the state of visibility in the media and in the archive.
The exhibition Anyways, soon everything will be forgotten serves as a vague temporary archive displaying marginal threads of the prevailing historical narratives. It seeks to reveal the history that has escaped institutional registers or is buried so deep in depots that might only materialise in another, different context freed from the strict rules of various research disciplines. Facts, images and records, mixed with fiction and half-truths, create narratives that draw on existing databases and reposition themselves there, suggesting new possible scenarios and approaches to the act of archiving.
Nora, Pierre. 1989. Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire. Representations, vol. 26, p. 13.
 The title is borrowed from Katharine Viner’s description of the iconic image of Leila Khaled in The Guardian: ‘The picture which made her the symbol of Palestinian resistance and female power… the shiny hair wrapped in a keffiyeh, the delicate Audrey Hepburn face refusing to meet your eye.’ (artist’s note)
Slovene proofreading: Inge Pangos
Slovene translation: Lara Reichmann
English proofreading: Arven Šakti Kralj
Cover image: Huda Takriti, Refusing to Meet Your Eye, 2022, video.
Design: Lea Jelenko
Photos of the performative reading and the exhibition opening: Simao Bessa
Acknowledgements: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art
The Škuc Gallery programme is supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Ljubljana.