Souvenirs of Communism: The Framing and Reframing of Hungary's Communist Past in Memento Park
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The aim of this research is to get an understanding of the manner in which the framing or reframing of artworks can have the effect of producing a new meaning for this artwork. In addition, this thesis is concerned with the role that framing and reframing can play in the construction of a nation’s collective memory and national identity. The case study through which this research of framing and reframing is conducted is the Memento Park. The Memento Park is a statue park which is situated just outside Budapest, which houses forty-one monuments which used to be located throughout Budapest during the communist era. The reason these monuments ended up at the Memento Park is that after the fall of the communist regime in Hungary in 1989, the people and the municipality of Budapest determined that these reminders of the communist era could no longer remain in the public sphere of Budapest. In this thesis, I argue that the relocation of these monuments to the Memento Park has both framed and reframed them in such a manner that the meaning they convey regarding communist ideology has changed, and that the park thereby plays a role in both the construction of a Hungarian collective memory of the communist era, and the construction of a post-communist identity. The most important concept that I use for this analysis is framing, which simultaneously serves as my primary methodology, as I am analysing the different frames that have been applied to the monuments in the Memento Park by moving them there. In addition to framing, I use numerous texts that discuss monumentality, collective memory of the communist era in Central and Eastern Europe, the relation between communist heritage and tourism and the relation between arts and society.