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Exposed Memories

Family pictures in private and collective memory

Edited by
Zsófia Bán, Associate Professor of American Studies at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Hedvig Turai, art historian and critic

Within the larger context of cultural memory, family pictures have become one of the most intriguing multi- and interdisciplinary fields of investigation in the past decade. This field brings together artists working in different media (e.g. documentary photography and film, photo-based painting and installations, digital art, collage, montage, comics, etc.) as well as academics, critics, theorists and writers working in a wide range of disciplines including literature, history, art history, sociology, anthropology, psychoanalysis, film and media studies, visual culture studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, and word and image studies. This volume intends to offer a broad, panoramic view of the topic combining West and East European as well as American perspectives.

"Due to some ancient, amusing misunderstanding, family photographers push the button convinced that they are capturing a moment from the family’s life. Not so. Time eludes them. Still, the movingly minute scale of a restricted life becomes visible in these pictures. This book opens up grand and diverse vistas of reflection on the mass production of the minute."
Péter Nádas, author of The Book of Memories and Fire and Knowledge

"This book is an insightful interdisciplinary exploration of the estranging effects of family pictures at the cutting edge of the study of visual culture and politics of representation. The book expands both the conception of the family incorporating elective affinities and fictional filiations and the conception of photography incorporating ghosts, narratives and literary documents. The essays splinter the grand narrative of history and official memory, engaging in critical reflection on document and fiction, politics and intimacy, narrative and trauma.
Filled with original insights, personal parables and theoretical finds, the volume draws on a broad range of texts, art works and photographs including Sebald, Boltanski, Kabakov, Eperjesi and Gjuzelova as well as historical images from the Hungarian revolution and anonymous pictures from immigrant archives. The book will be of interest to researchers in a large variety of fields from visual arts to literature, anthropology, sociology and history as well as to the general reader."
Svetlana Boym, Harvard University, Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature, author of The Future of Nostalgia and Another Freedom


Introduction, Photo as Autobiography Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer, Incongruous Images: “Before, During, and After” the Holocaust; Nancy K. Miller, Beguiled by Loss: The Burden of Third-Generation Narrative; Jay Prosser, The Baghdadi Jew and His Chinese Mistress; Photo and Text Heinz Ickstadt, History, Narration, and the Frozen Moment of Photography in Richard Powers’ Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée; Zsófia Bán, Memory and/or Construction: Family Images in W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz; Private and Public Archives Rob Kroes, Virtual Communities of Intimacy: Photography and Immigration; Géza Boros, Buried Images: Photography in the Cult of Memory of the 1956 Revolution; András Bán, A Farewell to Private Photography; Suzana Milevska, EVENTfulness: Family Archives as Events/Folds/Veils; Family Albums Logan Sisley, Visualizing Male Homosexuality in the Family Album; Ágnes Berecz, Please Recycle! On Ágnes Eperjesi’s Family Album; Object/Photo/Reality Éva Forgács, From Photo to Object: Personal Documents as History-Writing in the Works of Christian Boltanski and Ilya Kabakov; Hedvig Turai, Home Museum. An Installation by Katarina Šević and Gergely László; List of Contributors

Published by AICA, International Association of Art Critics, Hungarian Section, distributed by CEU Press

206 pages, includes black-and-white photos
ISBN 978-963-9776-70-8 cloth $40.00 / €30.00 / £27.00

"The book's essays are prompted by acts of memory that took place in Central and East Europe after 1989. These acts, according to Ban and Turai's Introduction, 'are meant to interpret and reinterpret the past, often focusing on topics and events that previously had been considered taboo for collective memory (such as the role of national politics in the Holocaust, Stalinism or 1956)'. What makes this volume interesting and valuable are its wide scope of insights, personal histories and analysis and the broad range (from intimate to historical) of texts, art works and photographs that are referenced. I found much fascinating reading in Exposed Memories, and I can recommend it to a select audience of readers who may be interested in cutting edge research that is emanating from Central Europe in the field of cultural and visual anthropology. The generalist reader who is interested in photography as memory may also find some of the less scholarly essays to be rewarding." - E-Journal of the American Hungarian Educators Association