Saving the Revolution On Line
Chronicle by Isabelle Rodriguez
It is from Beirut, where she took refuge with her family, that the Syrian graphic artist Sana Yazini, born in 1970 and having graduated from the Fine Arts School of Damask, started in May 2013 the creation of the platform The Creative Memory of The Syrian Revolution. A trilingual site – French, English and Arabic – not to tell about the events of the Revolution per se, but to report on the intellectual forms of expression being born. “It is about writing, recording, documenting, gathering the stories of the Syrian people, thanks to which it was able to take control of the meaning of its social, political and cultural existence.”
In front of the mass of the archives distributed over twenty-two categories, it is difficult not to give way to emotion. Photographs, videos, drawings, but also banners, theater, radio shows, publications, sculptures and even stamps, there are thousands of voices that can be heard, finally. Some direct witness statements, coming from all the social categories of the Syrian population, this population being absent from the media and political discourses.
In the middle of the 1980s, students began to experience some “empty hours” from their school days: some hours of nothing, instead of the former times used for sports; music and plastic arts. The generations deprived from discovery and expression spaces are part today of the creators that try to defy censorship. Despite several initiatives, the Internet only kept fleeting traces of this protester culture, at the beginning essentially built from videos filmed during demonstrations, from life, with a smartphone, and broadcast on line to bring evidence of what is going on in the streets. But the digital army of Bachar El Assad watches, YouTube Removes the videos with a content deemed too violent and all these accounts thus disappear.
Archiving is making a collective memory place, a place from where History can be written. And tirelessly, with a conviction that never runs out, Sana Yazini travels around the world to show her project, in many festivals and art centers— ô Proche Orient, FAB, Syrien n’est fait, Vagamonde, Sens interdits — where she organizes exhibitions of the works listed on the site. Some interventions also archived, and to be found on line.
Translation by Maya Dalinsky
Cover: Lens Young Dimashqi, Nothing Is Interrupting His Holy Melodies But The Effrontery Of The Russian Jet Fighters In The Sky, Damascus on 21112015. Source: creativememory.org