"Books on the CEE transformations that deal with media and popular cultures should be welcomed. Past for the Eyes belongs to this extraordinary breed.
The book is devoted to the visual representations of the socialist / communist past and the forms they took. The interconnected processes of visualization of the past, and the collective memory sedimentation are the main focus.
The book brings together perspectives of linked but still distinctive ways of enquiry: visual studies, cultural studies, area studies, museum studies and contemporary history with its passion for ethnography and oral evidence.
One of the common threads which stitch the chapters together and turn the collection into a quite homogenous regional report on an updated 'structure of feeling', are the authors' horizons referring to the experience of being post-socialist in a postmodern condition. They help to sense that there is something peculiar about reconsidering, revisiting and even rejecting a politically evil regime from the perspective that does not allow for any clear discrimination between what is ultimately good and evil. Simultaneity seems to be an important strategy for both researchers and filmmakers as objects of their enquiry. In many cases chapters recall visual texts which deplore the socialist regime while they simultaneously remain aware of the limits of any orthodoxy. This attitude of alertness and reflexivity is far removed from any 'so-we-will-be-free-now' optimism, and the collapse of this particular ideology is combined with the awareness that 'ideology is not a historically specific bad thing', as John Corner put it elsewhere."