This Sunday, it was 24 years ago that the Velvet Revolution started up in Prague. Every year, that is an opportunity for Czech and Slovak media to post fascinating photos from the pre-1989 era. Not having lived through that time myself, I find those images from that time arresting and stunning and I can’t get enough of them. One set of photo’s that I particularly enjoyed was a series by Luboš Kotek entitled Tady bylo Husákovo – or: Here was Husák’s Country, in reference to Gustav Husák who led Czechoslovakia after the Prague Spring of 1968.
Woman in a restaurant – (c) Kotek
If you’re interested in more blasts from the pasts, the website of the post-communist monuments project that Juliet Johnson has been running is now live. This database contains systematic descriptions of monuments across the post-communist realm as well as the events surrounding them: the proposals to take them down, all the times someone put their own twist on an old monument (by painting a tank pink, for instance), and the fights over the new monuments of a new age. The search function allows you to find particular monuments – the database contains 215 references to Lenin monuments, for instance. Check it out.
Finally, some self-promotion: here’s the poster (.pdf) that I presented at the APSA conference in Chicago last August. It takes a first look at the quantitative data that I’ve collected and although it’s far from complete, I have tried to use this opportunity to showcase my research insofar as I know what it is right now. It’s still work in progress. And my profile on the IPLAI website is up. IPLAI is McGill’s Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas – they create a space for researchers from a range of different disciplines to pool their ideas, and I’ve joined them this semester as an Archie Malloch Fellow, which of course I am very excited about.