Digital Print on Foamboard. Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist.
The idea for Ćosić’s Invisible Museum of Slavery was born as while in an artist residency in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. His host was a French coffee company who was refurbishing an 18th-century coffee plantation. As with many other buildings in Cuba, this historic site was being converted into a touristic destination and thus its memory of slavery was being overwritten by the nostalgic exaltation of the ruins. “Very quickly, it became obvious to me that Cuba has not found the way to deal with its history of slavery and that current social relations are marked by deeply-rooted resentment,” reflected the artist.
Given the lack of Internet, especially in isolated areas off the capital, and inspired by projects like SNET (Street Network, a popular intranet for gaming and sharing information in the Island) the artist thought to set up a local router connected to a hard drive, as an intranet hotspot, containing “every available documentary, movie and book about slavery.” In this way, people who visited the area and connected to it would be able to consume more than its landscape and architecture. The very presence of a digital data archive on slavery twisted the new concept of that space into a memorial site.