Monday, August 31, 2009

In Romania, after 1989, the inter-war period acquired the
status of a lost golden age of intellectual prowess, the
single moment of historical promise when everything
was prepared for the big step into Western European
Today the golden age of Ceausescu gives way to a new
golden age of liberal reactionary backlash trying to
embellish what it perceives as its true origins, and the
primary pinnacle of Romanian culture. All the present
day conservative thinking claims roots from this between
the wars period as well as the slow decay of prosperity
during the ensuing decade. We are now part of a process
of themeparking of this in-between-the-wars period that
engages and co-opts contemporaneity into recuperating a
fabled past and a lost promise. This is the search for a
recipe of success being packaged and recuperated
nowadays with the help of artists, historians, civil
servants, political authorities, architects and nostalgic
memento collectors. This lost paradise becomes a refuge
of the what-ifs, of what it could have been if the evil
Communist didn't stop and postpone the liberal dream of
the in between the war Romania. Everybody who claims
a connection to this particular period or who finds
artifacts from this period is adding another puzzle piece
to a long lost golden age without censorship, placed
magically beyond the reach of totalitarian rule. What
everybody seems to forget and be silent about is that this
particular period has seen the rise of antisemitic, fascistchauvinist
thinking, a growing literature of Social
Darwinism and intellectual and artistic support for such
policies of nationalistic excess.
The Bureau of Melodramatic Research should investigate
the propagandistic role of such historical prefabricates, of
how and why this serves the present. Why some parts of
the picture are left out and others are constantly put in the
forefront. How the rhetorics of vintage artifacts and the
charm of good old days is being forged and manipulated
with a vindicative purpose. How present day
collaborators are enrolled, wittingly or unwittingly, into a
new industry of dreams, into a melodramatic and
dramatized version of history and how the present feeds
on the lost parts of the past and its former glories. While
the touristic role of themeparking of the beautified past is
very obvious it is not so obvious how the middle class
values of the golden age is translated into the new
propaganda of the new Romanian middle class society
looking for the legitimization of its power and centerstage

Simon Maximilian Südfeld