• Tomislav S. Šola

Public memory in a betrayed society – notes of a lecturer

Updated: Dec 31, 2021


It's nice to see the job done. That's why the published books are good. I gave lectures for a long time at many places, and one was in Kaliningrad, - at the occasion of the Museum Day 2019. (The whole city was celebrating). The lecturers have a fate similar to that of the actors: all their performance comes down to what is left in the memory and spirit of the audience.


Irina Poljakova and some other colleagues there wanted to hear more and possibly save it. And so the intention grew into the book of the lecturer's notes, with their benevolence, - intentionally without scientific aspirations and deliberately in a form and tone similar to lectures. I thank them for their interest: I have not made a lecture or wrote an article or a book, on my own, - without someone’s encouragement. The curator in me is constantly looking for motivation in the demands of the “audience”. In my case, because I was a curator a long time ago, it’s about colleagues and my obsession with helping them create a new, great profession.


Whether the original text in English, "Public Memory in a betrayed society- notes of a lecturer" will find its way to potential readers, is hard to say. The translation did. I gave up writing some books though partly written, perhaps out of despondency; libraries have been overcrowded for a long time. Museums too are packed and growing, the Internet is bursting with content, the world is accumulating a giant memory at great expense (and little use), we are building smart cities and intelligent machines, but watch how low have we fallen, - to cold-bloodedly predict the end-of-the-species option for the future: destruction brought to self-destruction. Cynically speaking, collectively, we may not have deserved better. “Just 66 per cent of millennials firmly believe that the Earth is round,” reports the “Scientific American”. The rising prominence of “flat-earthery” is almost touching because, it provides, say, a great solution for rising ocean levels: we dig a hole at the edge, and when enough sea runs out, we then plug it. Together with the education and knowledge “industry”, (public) memory institutions should assume their responsibility for the transfer of collective experience. If we don’t do our job, somebody else will and not necessarily for our best. Public memory is the art of quality maintenance for societal development.