History from below


© Ruth Deutschmann, 2009
A few decades ago, oral and visual history began to use audiovisual means to change “the dominant historiography as the history of the ruling class” (Bertolt Brecht) through “history from below”.
The “Virtual House of History Tyrol | South Tyrol” stands on this foundation. It erects a new building above it by letting history be told in stories. The competence of telling stories should not be in the hands of knowledge mediators but should remain with those who pass on their personal experiences in the form of condensed memories.
The Virtual House of History is not a museum that exhibits objects, but gives chroniclers the space to turn their memories into objects of perception.
The “Virtual House of History Tyrol | South Tyrol” sees itself as a building block for the re-establishment of the culture of orality which is threatened by decay.
Written – Oral
Behind written tradition is the desire to record the past. Behind oral tradition is the need to let go of the past.
Writing is objectified, orally experience is passed on.
Fixing is about contemporary history, letting go is about life stories.
Writing needs to be conveyed via paper and distribution. Orality is immediate.
Written knowledge is conveyed, oral experience is transformed.
Writing attempts to de-emotionalise history,
Oral communication passes on the experience of the surmountability of passions. The written claims the authority of knowledge, the oral confesses the authority of the living.
Writing gives us a picture of the past, orally establishes pictorial connections to the past.
In printed words the past is “written down”, in the spoken word the past is “cancelled”.
Writing explains and makes things difficult, orally clarifies and makes things easy.
e. s.
01. 05. 2009
Reflections and scientific contributions will be placed under Materials in the course of further work.