Anniversary- an Act of Memory


The UN Declaration of Human Rights triumphed in all the minds of those who came to the Anniversary - an Act of Memory,an event held on 14th July 2009 in the House of Commons hosted by Mike Hancock MP and Member of the Defence Select Committee on July 14th 2009, to mark Di's retirement from NIS.

Mike alerted us to the changing political view of Trident and introduced the artist, Monica Ross who delivered the Declaration from memory, including the Preamble. With some of the 30 Articles being recited by members of the audience, it was a moving reminder of what the House of Commons is supposed to be about. Monica was a remarkable conduit for our thoughts and commitment to upholding Human Rights, taking us with her through the detail of each Article.

/Since 2005 artist Monica Ross has been committing to memory and reiterating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a live performance examining the politics of the voice and its relationship to consciousness and memory. She now strives to perform a total of 60 solo and new collective versions with communities throughout and beyond this year – the Declaration’s own 60th Anniversary year. Anniversary – an act of memory calls for partners and collaborators to realise this aim.

Artist:Monica Ross <>
Curator:Jason E. Bowman

Ele's tribute*
My Mothers' work is about changing the culture in which human rights are perceived. Her work has involved creating very powerful metaphors for change, and following them through with direct action and long-term lobbying and negotiations on many levels. Her direct action involves going to the point of the transaction of power and making her voice
heard. Whether that as been halting a nuclear warhead convoy, providing information and advice sessions for MP's the the House of Commons, or taking Scottish MPs to see nuclear weapons installations in the UK. There is repetition in activism: in action, words and song, which keeps us from forgetting: which keeps us remembering. Over the last 30 years, in the face of such overwhelming fear and nuclear capacity, the UN Declaration of Human Rights has been constantly displayed in my home. It has seem outmoded at times, a faded document ignored by the 'powers that be'. Our individual commitment to it's aims belittled by international conflict and an imbalance of such huge economic and social proportions, it seems impossible to see how 'human rights' can have meaning. In 2009 there's an emerging window of opportunity for change, the possibility of embracing the values of the Declaration with serious intent. This political moment has formed for many reasons, partly because we can't afford the scale of violence we have sought to maintain, and partly because of the sea-change in intelligent politics in the USA. But the
possibility for the future has been kept in focus by a generation of women who continue to know the strength of their vision and their actions for change.

Dr Ele Carpenter
HUMlab Research Fellow at BildMuseet
Lecturer, MFA in Curating, Goldsmiths, University of London.
m: +44 (0)7989 502 191 (UK)