In Warsaw CSW nowadays can be seen an exhibition titled History Will Repeat Itself by Inke Arns. Its topics were nice described in this two notes of the great art blog We Make Money Not Art, so there is no need to do it again here. But it is worth to concentrate particularly on one of the presentations referring to the issue of media as a way of history re-enactment.
Spielberg’s List is a movie project by Omer Fast. His work – two channel video constructed around the experiences of Polish extras that participated in Steven Sielberg’s shooting of famous Schindler’s List – shows how easily media and entertainment can re-construct memory.
Strong discussion on the polish internet takes place nowadays because of the Fiat advertisement created by Leo Burnett. This polish version of very similar conceptions which could be seen in France or Italy is now being accused of using public memory for the commercial purposes:
see it on YouTube
To tell the truth, Fiat became a part of polish history. But for many people using an image of Solidarity movement, Lech Wa??sa, John Paul II or even the Warsaw Uprising in the advertisement is a violation of principle in which great historical moments and personalities can not be owned by any political or commercial circle – they are a public domain of memory and can not be credited to the one company or political party.
The case of internet communities is widely discussed in the context of the Web 2.0 idea. Cognitive, educational potential of communities is proved in Wikipedia, where groups of users in a dynamic way (discussion, co-operation) build knowledge resources. The quality of theirs works can be sometimes better than articles in the professionals encyclopedias. Despite all the problems connected with collective and freely edited knowledge, Wikipedia became an excellent place for starting a research.
But can online communities be helpful in the case of history preservation? Two projects started some time ago in Poland encourage internet users to collectively gather the historical materials and knowledge.