Judit Flóra Schuller
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
The starting and focal point of the work “Memory Theatre” is my own family archive that I have inherited from my grandfather, Imre Schuller. The collection consists of different mediums (among others, photographs, films, audio recordings, correspondences, diaries, official documents, and objects) and it traces back to the 18th century. Being the heiress of this rich material does not solely mean to become the person who takes care of the heritage.
I also found myself in an inherited position, in the process of an interrupted incomplete mourning. I gradually and partly unintentionally carried on the burden of this inherited bereavement that I absorbed through projected memory.
By working up the pieces of the family archive I am slowly approaching the state of oblivion. I chose to absolve the inherited post-trauma by transforming remembrance into the state of forgetting. For me, forgetting means an active state of remembering wherein the ‘remember’, the carer of the heritage can move towards an active living.
Absence is a key element of the family archive and of “Memory Theatre” as well. The obsessive attitude of collecting and preserving is based on absence. The memory of the Holocaust victim family members was consciously sustained by my grandfather. He cultivated their remembrance so strongly that their presence felt ‘alive’. Their absence was compensated by the act of remembering, their memory was entwined with the present.
In my works, I interpret actual pieces from the archival collection and reflect on the medium of the archive itself. Through the act of documentation, repetition, appropriation, or performative reflection I reveal micro family narratives as well as my own personal role within “Memory Theatre”. Similarly to the act of remembering and forgetting, “Memory Theatre” cannot exist as an accomplished identity, it is always in transition; an open conversation between time parallels, layers of history and generations.