{ reminiscence }


“A people which is cut off from its own past is far less free to choose and to act as a people than one which has been able to situate itself in history. This is why – and this is the only reason why – the entire art of the past has now become a political issue.”
– John Berger, The Ways of Seeing

Ani literally means unique, beautiful and exotic in Armenian. It’s also a feminine name in reference to the medieval Armenian city of Ani. The great capital has since turned into what are now called The Ruins of Ani.

Anı means ‘memory’ in Turkish; if one removes the dot over the ‘i’, ‘The Ruins of Ani’ becomes ‘The Ruins of Memory’, just like Ani, in a way, became a ruined memory for the Armenians.

The word ‘reminiscence’ could suggest an opportunity to link ‘anı’ (memory) with its literal meaning in Turkish as a word and ‘Ani’ (beautiful) with its physical being as a ruined city of Armenians in Turkey.

In our age, ‘memory’ has taken on a very broad meaning, and tends to be used purely and simply as a substitute for ‘history,’ to put the study of history at the service of memory. It is claimed by some important philosopher’ s that “the time in which there was collective history and individual memories, a time in which the historian alone was supposed to deliver the truth of the past, is over. In manufacturing the past today, the historian must share its role with others.” It is ‘memory’ now that it has acquired collective meaning. It is in this context that an extraordinary interest in ‘cultural heritage’ has emerged. The power of memory, its essential role in forging a national identity and the growing interest for memory and cultural heritage, undoubtedly coincide with the rise of conservative and right-wing politics. This is why the philosopher Boris Buden suggests that “the left shouldn’t leave the past to the right, but rather openly claim it, and it should make the memory a site of political struggle, or better, a political cause. This is supposed to be the only way for the left to recover from the loss of history.” However, Walter Benjamin says that “cultural history and heritage” increase the burden of the treasures that piled up on humanity`s back; it doesn`t really give us the strength to shake these treasures off, so as to get our hands on them. I, eventually, will take the words and approaches of these thinkers with me on my way through this research, alongside many others.


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