Charlotte Fuentes, collection manager of the Museum of Broken Relationships, Croatia. Photography © Nataša Njegovanović
1.What is your museum about and what is your work there?
As so many other things in life, the idea of the Museum of Broken Relationships was born out of a personal experience.
It first occurred to Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić as a concept in a late night conversation they had during their breaking up. That late night conversations full of reminiscing and regrets somehow gave birth to the idea of collecting the objects that were too painful for them to keep, and those of a few friends who had also endured break-ups.
It led them to make an art installation that immediately caught the attention of the international audience and snowballed over the years into an international exhibition showcased in fifty-seven countries across the globe. In 2010, they decided to found a permanent, brick and mortar museum in Zagreb that houses our ever–growing collection ever since.
I gladly joined the Brokenships team in 2017 and became the collection manager. Ever since, I am taking care of the global collection, organising and curating together with Olinka and Dražen the travelling exhibitions and permanent display in Zagreb.
2.How is your museum dealing with the coronavirus crisis?
Due to Croatian’s government decision, we were closed for almost two months. In the meanwhile, we brainstormed and thought about future projects. Like any museum right now we are still learning from this crisis. Every day is challenging us to create new ways to engage our visitors and contributors.
The Museum of Broken Relationships is a physical but also a virtual public space created with the sole purpose of treasuring and sharing your heartbreak stories and symbolic possessions.
That’s why during the lock-down, while our permanent display and traveling exhibitions were suspended we launched a call for virtual contributions on our interactive webpage for our followers to share more actively their stories and pin them on the Brokenships world map. We count today 1982 break up pinned stories in our virtual collection.
3.What is the impact on your digital activity? Do you have tips to share with your colleagues?
In our actual world, we realise how the virtual space is important and allow us to be a community while we are far from each other and when the normal daily life is frozen.
Even though our website was already interactive before the lock-down happen, this whole situation push us to reflect deeper about developing multimedia and virtual content.
It is hard to give any tips because each cultural space is different/unique and have to adapt to the situation depending on their own concept or identity.
4.Are you already preparing yourself for the reopening? Tell us in what way.
We are open since the 1st of May, under normal circumstances it would be the middle of the tourist season but since the borders are still not fully open we will first reconnect with our local community and keep in touch with our international community through our social media and webpage.
Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist
Charlotte Fuentes is responsible for the collection of the Museum of Broken Relationships and takes care of the donations that participants send to the museum from all over the world to join them in the global collection.
As responsible for the collection, together with Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić founders of the Museum, Fuentes is responsible for the organization and care of the Museum of Zagreb, Croatia, and traveling exhibitions.