Mind How You Dance: A Central and Eastern Europe Monument Project

Artists Irmina Rusicka
Genre Installation
Edition Survival 21
  • steel structure clad in cellular polycarbonate, 2020

Monument-as-a-thing and monument-as-a-social-event exists only in two instances: when it is erected and when it is toppled. Between these two moments, as Robert Musil noted, it is invisible. Despite its monumentality, it becomes familiar, growing into the fabric of wherever it was assigned to solidify on its pedestal.

A bus stop is rarely perceived as a monument, especially one that has been vandalised and repaired in one of Europe’s self-proclaimed centres. No ambition to represent this specific region will want to remind us of another failed modernisation project. Along with the promise of the end of history and apparent  westernization, we were given economic emigration, the collapse of domestic industries and nationalist tendencies. To Fukuyama’s chagrin, history hasn’t ended at all – unlike the bus service between the two county towns. Rusicka’s design is based on a game that can be played with the meaning of a monument by negotiating its form and mode of existence, trying to endow it with a utilitarian function or present as an anti-monument. However, what comes to the fore in this installation is the question of commemorating failure. Or, to put it more optimistically, commemorating failed promises with remnants of hope still in them – the same hope all of us feel when waiting at the bus stop in the middle of nowhere.

text: Aleksy Wójtowicz

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