The fall of communism in the former soviet countries was marked with the rise of activist attitudes, in many cases organised around Internet and new media practices. Development of new media culture was linked to the proces of developing new forms of social organization. Both were sort of great challenge since infrastructures of communication technology and structures of civic society were underdeveloped and centralised in this region. Communist governements considered all means and forms of independent communication and collectivity an attack on them. The old Roman dictum: Divida et Impera was their political principle.
The panelists will discuss different aspects of these transformations, both from the general perspective and with a focus on particular countries and issues.
- Ryszard W. Kluszczynski will talk on the 80’s in Poland where during the Martial Law period and boycott of official state art institutions, the avant-garde artists developed the independent art network. The important roles in this process were played by media artists. There were several editions of underground festival Silent Cinema organized as well as numerous other forms of artistic activities undertook. Some forms of continuation of such work in the 90. will be analized as well.
- Nina Czegledy will talk about the network of Soros Centers of Contemporary Art, their activity, and about the heritage of Soros funding at the cusp of cultural and funding transitions: fresh initiatives, hybrid educational projects, international exchanges including networked projects, altered funding structures signalling a new era.
- Renata Sukaityte will focus on the new forms of independent social self-organization after Soros, with the stress on the situation in Baltic countries. She will review the shift in institutional paradigm and hierarchy in the field of media arts production in 2000s: networking and temporary experimental production venues – as an alternative institutional strategy for small and independent communities
- Zoran Pantelic will present the development of activism in Balcan countries with a focus on situation in Serbia. In the mid 90. activism got strong visibility through non-govermental organizations there. Paradox is that Serbia situation nowadays is that institutions controlled by the governement are not ready to cooperate with NGOs. In the same time the latters are very active internationally and produce numerous collaborative works with the foreign countries partners.
- Maciej Ozog will talk on the independent music scene. The 90. were the time of fast rise of independent labels which soon became ‘safe harbours’ for experimental musicians and activists who did not agree with total commercialisation of culture and decided to stay away from academic art at the same time. There are similarities and differences between independent music scenes in different countries in respect to political, economical but above all cultural context (tradition of avant-garde, experimental music; connection between art and music scene, etc.). The stress will be also put on the issue of cooperation and creative exchanges between individual artists, projects, and independent organisations and collectives.