An Anecdoted Archive from the Cold War
'An Anecdoted Archive from the Cold War' is an installation artwork consisting of an interactive computer archive designed in the form of a contemporary museum display.
The Archive's interface is based on the floor plan of the former Workers' Movement Propaganda museum in Budapest. The Archive's contents are all contained on CD-ROM and videodisk. These are viewed on workstations in an installation environment that includes large scale text and images on the darkened walls of the gallery. The Archive consists primarily of East European public and personal documents such as 1950's Hungarian home movies, recent video footage of Eastern European places and events, objects, books, family documents, Socialist propaganda, money, sound recordings, and reports in my collection of things and stories related to the Cold War. These items, in the form of over eighty stories, have been arranged thematically in eight rooms superimposed on the original floor plan of the former Workers' Movement Propaganda museum in Budapest -the original contents of which have been in permanent storage since 1990.
Autobiographical to a degree, the artwork adresses the transitional space between two world orders as reflected by my particular hybrid history - I was born in Budapest in 1950 near the end of the Stalin era, and fled with my family to the West during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
Viewers interact with the Archive by using the computer mouse to select and enter rooms and stories according to their own interests. As a result, personal stories are interwoven to varying degrees with public imagery and documents of the era. This interactive approach allows viewers to walk away with slightly different impressions of the Archive's content and context determined according to the sequence of their choices and the depth of their exploration. (George Legrady)