As final manifestation of the project ALAKONDRE: A Space in time, which started in Readytex Art Gallery in October 2021, the month of December is dedicated to a truly unique experiment. On December 8th, under the title Manifestatie 1980-1989: Surinaamse verhalen van vreugde en verdriet, (Manifestation 1980-1989: Surinamese stories of joy and sorrow) the artists Miguel Keerveld and Xavier Robles de Medina launch a growing, interactive manifestation that will take shape not by their design, but by contributions from the public. Through individual stories, thoughts or memories, visitors are invited to help build a collective archive focused on Suriname in the eighties.
The concept for this manifestation follows the presentations of Xavier Robles de Medina and Alida Neslo at the panel discussion ‘Magic in Visual Conversation’, moderated by Miguel Keerveld and hosted by Readytex Art Gallery, during the Atlantic World Art Fair 2022. There, Xavier presented a video composed of various archival film fragments and a text, both of which reflected on sentiments and facts surrounding several historical events. In a reaction afterwards, he emphasized that documented archives only represent a small part of what was or is actually experienced within the community.
The intention of Manifestatie 1980-1989: Surinaamse verhalen van vreugde en verdriet is to give individual thoughts and emotions about Suriname in the eighties, the opportunity to manifest themselves in time and space. Through symbolic ‘consultations’, a collective archive will be built. Personal stories (text and/or images) are placed within a social context in order to encourage discussions about memories from our recent past, including maybe of violence and its subsequent trauma. The ‘consultations’ take place symbolically as visitors enter an enclosed ‘safe space’ in which they can express their thoughts and emotions on paper, and anonymously place these in a box within the space. On fixed times/days the visitors’ contributions are then attached to strings hanging from the ceiling throughout the first floor of the gallery. There are no conditions attached to the memories that the visitor may share or contribute to this growing archive covering the period 1980 until 1989. It does of course regard a politically charged and eventful period, but the experiences and interpretations of each individual are unique. And that is exactly what the creators of this concept are curious about. What will we discover when, at the end of this experiment, we walk among the organically originated image archive of all those whirling and floating memories? Which needs, narratives and emotions are still prevalent within the community when it comes to that period? Manifestatie 1980-1989: Surinaamse verhalen van vreugde en verdriet is an experiment that might well have something to reveal … We look forward to being surprised.
We hope that you will join us at the opening of Manifestatie 1980-1989: Surinaamse verhalen van vreugde en verdriet, on Thursday, December 8, between 7:00 and 9:00 pm. The opening act, a special performance by Alida Neslo, will take place at 7:30 pm. You and your possible contribution are most welcome!