Memory (re)construction: Toward the discussion on memory sites renewal
Philosophy State University Higher School of Economics Moscow, Russia
For every memory place (that is defined after P.Nora as forming and keeping group or nation identity through images, symbols, traditions etc. and embodied in either in form of an object or in some architectural form) the process of reconstruction is both inevitable and disputable. What happens to the meanings and symbols when the material form needs renovation?
The research focuses on Moscow historic park reconstruction. History?s controversies lead to changes in place reception from one epoch to the other. What meanings, should be outlined as dominant ones during the reconstruction? The later ones or the initial ones? This question arises when each new historical period rejects mostly the previous epochs symbols.
Memory place as a part of city space became a sort of heterotopia, the other space within the city. The process of reconstruction is the time when city can vote either for or against the changes. It has legitimate power for institutionalization some tradition, creating memorials, changing architecture. Also the reconstruction process may lead to adding the meanings such as creating tourist or artistic zones.
The last but not the least is that the memory is "alive by nature" and opposed history, that is constructed by nature. That?s why memory undergoes permanent evolution, is open to the remembering and forgetting. The memory place is the space for constant community?s or nation?s traditions forming. What happed to all that processes in reconstructed space? And how will the interactive process of forming of meanings develop after reconstruction?
All this questions make reconstruction rather disputable. There are few groups of "memory keepers" and "history makers": local community, architects, city government, historians. Each of these groups has its own set of ideas, "meaning maps" that shape the place, discourses to depict and arguments to discuss the situation. So the process of reconstruction is the process of discussions and finding conventions: some points remain undisputable, some arise debates. Here reveals the space for the research and analyzing.