Only fifteen years separate two historical events fundamental to the constitution of two Western and Central European democracies as we know them today. The Carnation Revolution of April 1974 in Portugal and the Velvet Revolution of November 1989 in former Czechoslovakia shifted the course of local and global histories and rewrote national narratives, while playing important roles in much larger processes such as the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the definitive dissolution of a moribund colonial empire.
Some decades ago, both revolutionary processes refused to be inscribed in stable and somehow consensual historical narratives. Nevertheless, each revolution’s archive is the place from which contemporary political positions and discourses in both countries have been conditioned and permanently shaped. How do such archives work?
Can singular moments of individual image production influence the way an archive is shaped? Can a shoebox full of amateur photographs be transformed into an archive where lived and transmitted (inscribed) experience is articulated alongside macro-political and historical processes? And, lastly, how can artistic projects that deal in different ways with the constitution of these revolution's archives of material and immaterial existence shed light on the archive's operational mechanisms or on the transmission of narratives and the constitution of collective memory as such?
Ana de Almeida is an artist and author from Lisbon, currently living and working in Vienna. After studying Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lisbon, she continued her studies in Vienna, completing a Master in Critical Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with a scholarship from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the same institution, pursuing a doctoral thesis about the production of images and their ideological implications in the 1974–1989 inter-revolutionary era between the Carnation and the Velvet Revolutions.