Production of site-specific art installation / Memorial points on Goli otok
Spatial intervention on the site – visual punctuation of female memory / trauma on Goli Otok and Sveti Grgur, is a concept developed by artist Andreja Kulunčić in collaboration with anthropologist Renata Jambrešić Kirin and psychotherapist Dubravka Stijačić.
Visual punctuation is built on the testimonies of women prisoners as the only existing historical trace. The punctuations are not visible in the landscape except when the visitor is acquainted with the location of the ‘traces’, because it starts from the idea that the entire site of the women’s prison on Goli Otok and Sveti Grgur testifies to the weight and human suffering that took place there. Traces, including memories of heirs and testimonies that have been published or recorded in various interviews, are threads that open questions and can guide visitors through the site but does not give clear answers, does not look for the culprit, does not deal with “forgiveness” or ideology.
In this sense, it is an anti-monument in which the visitor builds his memory, becoming a “monument” (transmitter of memory) and seeks answers and information (the web address of the project will be available at the sites) to the extent that the question affects him. In contrast, conventional monuments cannot replace responsible memory because they are one-dimensional in interpreting the past from the angle of the one who built it (the state in the name of ideology, nation, dictator, etc.). While anti-monuments aim to de-momumentalize by methods of ambiguous symbolism of emptiness, sometimes irony, and multiperspectivity, including marginalized memories and the active participation of visitors in memory building (James E. Young). Various authors (Kuljić, Young, Vickery, etc.) agree that it is problematic to close the memory “in monuments” because it frees us from the duty of memory but also from re-analyzing the (glorious) past and (our own) victims. Kuljić explains that monuments are monumental demagoguery, while counter-monuments are subversion. Anti-monuments are aimed at social history and the common man, they do not want to justify or take the blame, but to ask a question.
In September 2020, the testimonies of the former inmate Vera Winter, written in the handwriting of her granddaughter Nina Winter, has been carved into the stone on Goli otok island:
We carried the stones from the sea to the top of the hill. When the heap on the top was large enough, we would carry the stones back to the sea.
In June 2021, the testimony of the former camp inmate Ženi Lebl, transcribed in the hand of her niece Ana Lebl, has been carved into the stone on Sveti Grgur island:
On your hump, St. Gregory, began the classic question “To be or not to be?”*
If you beat up – you will be. If you do not beat up – you will be beaten up.
(*the verb BITI here has 2 meanings: to beat up, to be)
For 2022, the plan is to carve in the stone on Sveti Grgur island the testimony of former detainee Eva Grlić, handwritten by her daughter Vesna Domany-Hardy:
If you haven’t beaten others, it showed you had not said goodbye to “being an enemy”. We lived like wild animals, constantly in fear, on our guard.