Makljen (re/constructed)

v1.0 by: Michael Takeo Magruder, 2017

A new media installation examining the notion of the ‘solitary monument’ within the contexts of utopia and modernism in the former Eastern Bloc.

About the Artwork:

What happens to a monument when it is abandoned, or when it simply becomes absent? What happens to a monument as a place of memory, of power, of message –that is to say, the monument as a 'rhetoric space'– when it is stranded, and ceases to be the repository of a collective cultural heritage? Does memory become short-circuited? Does the past become 'de-monumentalized'? Or is the monument totally annulled, along with the memory it bears?

( Diana Marincu & Horea Avram, excerpt from Stranded Monuments2 curatorial text )

From the 1960s to the 1990s hundreds of large scale public monuments were erected throughout the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Referred to as spomeniks (the Serbo-Croatian word for 'monument'), these modernist architectural sculptures often situated in remote natural landscapes commemorated the nation’s communist Revolution and defeat of the Axis occupation forces during World War II. Now mostly neglected and abandoned, these memorials remain as legacies of a bygone era and unrealised utopian vision.

Makljen (re/constructed) is a new media installation that explores the notion of the ‘solitary monument’ within this historical context. Based upon its namesake – the ruins of a destroyed spomenik located in the Makljen mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina – the artwork’s newly imagined and idealised architecture is derived from the revealed internal framework of the remaining structure. Using digital archaeological techniques and analysis of online photographs showing the present-day Makljen site, the generated form has been reconstituted with the real-time 3D application server OpenSimulator. The decayed ruin from the real world is offered a new life in the synthetic metaverse of OSGrid. A renewed, perfected iteration set atop an island rising from an endless virtual sea that can acquire its own memory, history and – perhaps unfulfilled – future.

Artwork Documentation:

Artwork Requirements:

Virtual: Windows/Mac computer system with Firestorm Viewer virtual worlds browser and stereo audio. A high-specification CPU/GPU, colour display with ≥1024x768 resolution and high-speed Internet connection are recommended.

Physical: Modular virtual/physical installations using: computer/display systems capable of real-time high definition 3D rendering; digital wall prints; and a 2.1 audio system.

Experience Version 1.0:

Virtual: [ permanent, Makljen, OSGrid ] - Explore the virtual monument located within the open source metaverse OSGrid.

Physical: [ 10 November - 10 December 2017, Galeria Plan B, Cluj ] - Visit the physical installation as part of the Stranded Monuments2 exhibition.

Installation Documentation:

In Dialogue with:

Cristian Rusu [ artistic context ] . Diana Marincu & Horea Avram [ curation ]

With Thanks to:

Drew Baker [ 3D modelling ] . Peter James [ gallery installation ] . Norbert Filep [ installation support ]

Supported by:

Makljen (re/constructed) v1.0 was produced in 2017 for the Stranded Monuments2 exhibition organized by the Cluj Cultural Center as part of the ECCA 2017 – Breaking Views platform. The project was made possible through joint funding by Arts Council England and British Council, and extensive support from Galeria Plan B and Fabrica de Pensule (The Paintbrush Factory).

Online Resources:

© TAKEO 2017