"An Anecdoted Archive from the Cold War" is an interactive CD-ROM and computer-media installation project that explores the inscription of historical narrative through the process of archive construction. This non-linear index, or narrative features early 1950's East European, personal and official Communist material in the form of home movies, video footage of Eastern European places and events, objects, books, family documents, Socialist propaganda, money, sound recordings, news reports, identity cards, Western media reports, etc. These items, in the form of over sixty stories, have been arranged thematically in eight rooms superimposed on the original floor plan of the former "Workers' Movement" museum in Budapest, the official propaganda museum of the Communist Party. The museum space currently houses the Peter Ludwig collection and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The original contents of the former museum have been placed into storage since 1990 or moved into the Museum of Contemporary History.
The interactive archive is not intended as an official history. It is rather about a way to situate stories through technological media. For instance, to create a platform where one's stories can engage in discourse with official history since one of the capabilities of the digitization process is that it reshapes information, erasing differences traditionally easily identifiable as belonging to official or personal documents.
Another component of the project was to explore the transformation of narrative construction and the play between diverse ideological sub-texts effected through the impact of digital, non-linear media. Not only to produce a work that raises questions about the politics of story telling but also to consider the politics of audience reading. Based on chance, and the choices that viewers follow, each viewer walks away with a slightly different story from this Archive based according to their own ideological beliefs (family life, communist propaganda, pro-Western, etc.) In other words, the sequence and choices that each viewer selects becomes a visible reflection of their own cultural/political perspectives.
Interactive media and the digital environment are dependent on metaphor as the mode by which information, transformed back and forth from screen to memory, are given meaning. The "Anecdoted Archive" narrative also functions through a recognizable metaphor that makes access to the information meaningful: the museum as an architectural model and the museum floorplan as a conceptual space. This reference charges the objects and stories in the work as the metaphor reference reminds us of the museum's cultural function, as a site of memory for the inscription of the social collective imagination and as a site of representation and power.