Nettime mailing list archives

[Nettime-ro] AFTER THE “HAPPY NINETIES”. - conferinta/concept/program/te
Vasile Ernu on Fri, 15 Apr 2005 10:55:27 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-ro] AFTER THE “HAPPY NINETIES”. - conferinta/concept/program/texte prezentare

Art and Society/Art in Society




April 18 Monday -19 Tuesday, 2005

Goethe - Institut, str.Henri Coanda 22, Bucharest

The project’s goal is to map the artistic attitudes and the directions of action in a period of major changes in society and in the world politics, a period whose beginning was symbolically marked by 9/11. 

Although the analysis of both the changes in the paradigm when it comes to articulating neoliberalism in the political practice and the reflection of these changes in the artistic field is in its incipient phase, the difference in attitude towards a period not so far away (the tenth decade) is visible. 

The artistic practice of the nineties was characterized by the attempts to readjust the artistic agenda in the context of the crisis of a certain type of political discourse (in part due to the fall of the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe), in the context of the expansion of the neoliberal system and, last but not least, in the context of the development of the new technologies of communication. The artistic responses came on several levels, from the formal reuse of one type of socially engaged art, specific to the seventies, but with a more nuanced political agenda, to a new institutional framework and a new perspective on the functions and the format of the artistic institutions (the design of the frame/support-institutions for networks in a system which rethinks concepts like peripheries, centers, East-West, North-South communication). Also, the artistic engagement of the seventies, focused on autonomous actions, was, in a way, replaced by an engaged strategy, by the creation
 of quasi-institutional platforms. The artists themselves reoriented their own discourses from an individually assumed attitude to a platform-generative type of artistic practice.

But the end of the “happy nineties”, conventionally set for 9/11, and the ever more aggressive offensive of the neoliberal system brought the necessity of a different sort of artistic response, either in the frames already created in the nineties, or in new ones, better adapted to the new realities. 

Reflexive strategies tend to be replaced by more radical discourses, following the acceleration of the neoliberal process of ideologization and the normative “global liberal democracy”. 

We are especially interested in the way these global phenomena are influencing the Balkans space, by studying the artistic strategies implemented in this region.

Here, even the term “the happy nineties” has a paradoxical dimension. 

In the non-yugoslav Eastern countries, the fall of the totalitarian regimes came along with various ways of relating art and society. The discreditation of a certain type of artistic engagement seems to have been more significant here than in the West, and the process of identity construction and the reception of neoliberalism, as opposed to a bankrupt version of socialism, also brought the discussion to a different scale, at least for the first years after the fall of communism.

For the former Yugoslavia space, the use of the “happy nineties” label receives a cynical connotation, due to the context of wars and genocide. 

We are interested in the way these evolutions and debates were carried out in the various national spaces and also in identifying the differences between these contexts. At the same time, we are asking to what extent one could talk about common features in the reception of these situations in the countries of this region, in order to allow talking about an Eastern context, from this perspective. Or about a Balkan one. And also to what extent one could talk about creating some common platforms and strategies, capable of responding to the global issues in a similarly relevant way for all these spaces. 

“After the happy nineties” brings together a number of theoreticians, curators and artists, both from the West and the East, who will present their own perspectives, strategies and their positioning in the context of these global evolutions with different regional impacts.

The project will conclude with the publishing of a book. at IDEA Publishing House.


Cosmin Costinas - cosmincostinas2004 {AT} yahoo.com / 0722 584 231

Vasile Ernu – v_ernu {AT} yahoo.com / 0745 502 861

Attila Tordai -S. – atordai {AT} mail.dntcj.ro

Goethe - Institut coordinator – Cristina Bortun - programm {AT} bukarest.goethe.org

Assistant - Delia Stan – spo3 {AT} bukarest.goethe.org

/ 021 210 4118

Romanian and English Simultaneous Translation Available


Robert Azzarello (cultural theorist, USA)

Matei Bejenaru (artist, curator, director Periferic, Romania)

Cosmin Costinas - (curator, art theorist Romania)

Anca Gyemant (artist, H.arta Space Romania)

Erden Kosova – (curator, art and social theorist, Turkey)

Davor Miškovic (curator, Croatia)

Ivan Moudov (artist Bulgaria)

Lia & Dan Perjovschi (artists, CAA Romania)

Gëzim Qëndro (curator, art and social theorist, co-director of Tirana Biennale, Albania)

Stefan Rusu (artist, curator R.Moldova)

Attila Tordai-S. (curator, Protokoll Studio, Romania)

Florin Tudor - (artist, curator, Romania)

Ovidiu Tichindeleanu – (social theorist, USA)

Stevan Vukovic – (curator, art theorist, Serbia and Montenegro)

Florian Waldvogel – (curator, art theorist, co-director Manifesta 6, Germany)

Agnieszka Kluczewska-Woljcik – (art theorist, Poland)


Monday April 18, 2005

Moderator: Dan Perjovschi

10.00 Sabine Hentzsch (Director, Goethe-Institut Bucharest), Vasile Ernu (Director Idea Foundation), Cosmin Costinas- General Presentation

10.30 Florian Waldvogel - Culture Jamming: The Visual Grammar of Resistance

11.30 Coffee break

12.00 Matei Bejenaru - Let's go to Weltmeisterschaft

12.30 Erden Kosova - Normalizing Istanbul

13.00 Debates

13.30-15.00 Lunch break

Moderator: Ovidiu Tichindeleanu 

15.00 Attila Tordai S – Double Dose of Disbelief

15.30 Stevan Vukovic – Undisclosed title

16.00 Coffee break

16.30 Florin Tudor – Living Units

17.00 Agnieszka Kluczewska-Wojcik – Art in front of its public

17.30 Cosmin Costinas - After the “happy nineties” – the frame

18.00 Debates

19.00 Dinner

Tuesday April 19, 2005 

Moderator: Cosmin Costinas 

10.00 Anca Gyemant - What is H.arta for

10.30. Robert Azzarello - After the Gay Nineties: The Unhappy Marriage of Queer Politics and Neoliberalism

11.00. Coffee break

11.30 Stefan Rusu - Alte Arte TV 

12.00. Gëzim Qëndro - Honey, no Blood

12.30. Debates

13.00-15.00 Lunch break

Moderator: Gëzim Qëndro

15.00 Ivan Moudov – 4x4

15.30 Davor Miškovic - Functionality in transition

16.00 Coffee break

16.30 Lia&Dan Perjovschi – Dizzydent

17.00 Ovidiu Tichindeleanu - Myth and Complicity: The Mysticism of Post-Communist "Freedom" And Its Denials

17.30 Debate

19.00 Dinner

Organizers: Idea Foundation, Goethe - Institut Bucharest, 

Supported by: Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, CAA Bucharest, New Europe College Bucharest, Poland Institut Bucharest

Florian Waldvogel – (Co-curator of Manifesta 6, Germany)

Culture Jamming: The Visual Grammar of Resistance

I grew up in the 1980s and never finished school. In my search for a political and cultural identity – that neither my mother nor my mates’ ambitious parents could offer – I left my lower-middle-class past behind me. If you wanted to be hip you wore Marc O’ Polo sweatshirts, Fruit of the Loom T-shirts, Boss trousers, Burlington socks and Timberland clod-hoppers. The superficially minimalist design of the cotton pullovers and the hysterical chequers of the nylon socks underlined the repressed aggression of the mum-and-dad generation, who performed a nauseating, unending display of inherited vanities in the street cafés and public squares. In the 1980s we shallow exiles from an empire of sunny prosperity built on lies, compromises and suppressed subjectivity reclaimed the city and urban space for ourselves. Public space became a showcase on the hypocritical private sphere.

Matei Bejenaru (artist, director of Periferic Biennial, Romania)

Let's go to Weltmeisterschaft

The presentation will analyze the way in which an international event, the Periferic Biennial, has built a local art scene: identity strategies, exchange relations, institutional constructions and artistic practices. After the year 2002, together with the stated intention to transform the Periferic Biennial in a respectable international event, the challenges have also changed... One must participate in the matches of the preliminary groups for the Weltmeisterchaft? Or one should import foreign players, “free of contract” who want to play in one's national league, with smaller budgets than the ones in the Bundesliga, but with equally high ambitions?

Erden Kosova – (curator, art and social theorist, Turkey)

Normalizing Istanbul

The contemporary art scene in Istanbul that expanded with a considerable speed throughout the nineties was deeply shaped by a devout engagement with socio-political issues. This alternative ground has slipped now into a 

process of normalisation, institutionalisation and perhaps banalisation. The art scene faces now the bitter decision between retaining its resistential nature or morphing into a sterile conformism.

Attila Tordai-S. (curator Studio Protokoll, Romania)

Double dose of disbelief

At the beginning of the nineties, when bigger or smaller international exhibitions presenting the art in post-communist countries were initiated, a few artists were offered the possibility to join these events. For all this, no national institutions were needed, the presence of a few mediators sufficed. In the meantime a new generation grew up, young professionals that had no luck to be welcomed with the optimism characteristic of the nineties, artists that had to assert themselves in a country bereft of galleries and institutions. Nonetheless, the constraint of self-promotion and the void created by the lack of institutions have led to the emergence of an artistic practice: the tasks of executing multiplications, issuing publications, documenting the products of the alternative culture that had in meantime appeared.

Florin Tudor (artist, Romania)

Living Units

In the projects which we develop (together with Mona Vatamanu) we document modes of occupying the space, serial architecture, living units in the post-socialist and consumerist context. Living units, Persepolis, 

Consuming the city or Il mondo novo analyze the architectural, urban, social and economic context of Budapest, Dunajvaros, Bucharest, Innsbruck, Trento and Bergen.

Anca Gyemant (artist, H.arta space Timisoara, Romania)

What is H.arta for

H.arta is an artist run space in Timisoara/ Romania. Since 2001 it was the location for events in the field of contemporary art (lectures, presentations, workshops, discussions, etc.). In Timisoara, a small town in a country that is so off the beaten tracks, all these things that should be taken for granted are missing: a proper artistic education, opportunities for young artists to travel, to show their works, ways of financing art, motivations for getting informed and to act as artists, etc. 

H.arta is a way to react to the problems of the Romanian art system. It is a tool for feeling less marginal, less isolated from what is going on in the world, a tool for feeling that we also have a voice, that we can also take part in the discussion. H.arta space is run by Maria Crista, Anca Gyemant, Rodica Tache

Robert Azzarello (cultural theorist, USA)

After the Gay Nineties: The Unhappy Marriage of Queer Politics and Neoliberalism

Just as feminist discourse had been appropriated to support colonialism, the recent queer liberation movement has helped to rhetorically ground normative democracy and its ideological partner, free-market capitalism. In terms of feminism, the postcolonial critic Gayatri Spivak mockingly points out the case of “white men saving brown women from brown men.” Following Spivak in the context of queer politics, we only have to make a slight change: white men saving brown queers from brown homophobes. This presentation will examine the dynamic relationship between popular queer discourse, neoliberalism, and the accompanying class-conscious, radical re-queering of political space in the form of urban graffiti.

Ştefan Rusu (artist, curator, R.Moldova)

Alte Arte TV 

AlteArte TV Programm is a proiect by Center for Contemporary Art/Chisinau developed in colaboration with Relations/Berlin, supported by Kulturstiftung des Bundes – Federal Cultural Foundation/Germany.

AlteArte TV Program produced and desighned by a group of visual artist from Chisinau and broadcasted trough national chanel Moldova 1 TV. 

The program comprise local, regional, and foreign reports, promoting art concepts and contemporary art tendencies in Moldovan society. The program consists mainly as a stage for artist’s expressions and wishes to offer them a place to show their works, stories and ideas. Also it combines some international, educational, analytical elements that will succeed in disseminating trough state television new art practices not only in main cities, bit also in rural parts of the country. 

Gëzim Qëndro (curator, co-director of Tirana Biennale, Albania)

Honey, no Blood

….In that crucial time of their modern history, the nineties, the Albanians made the childish, but understandable mistake of confusing the West with God, the difference being in just one letter (Perëndi + m). In this particular case they were not trying to simulate, for at the time they themselves were simulation in its more developed state; they were simply their own models….

Ivan Moudov (artist, Bulgaria)


For abstract: Like the 4x4 system with the automobiles, thanks to which every wheel copes separately

with the obstacles and allows for greater versatility.

Davor Mišković (curator, art theorist, Croatia)

Functionality in transition

There were wails for the myths that would raise our nation among other nations (especially among those from ex Yugoslavia) in the 80’ and 90’ in the republics of the ex Yugoslavia. The path for this raising was discovering of the glorious history. To be more precise, there was no need to discover all the elements for the construction of the national myths since there were already developed concepts and myths form the 19. Century. With some small adjustments for the time being they become a part of nation symbolic universe. This obsession with national identity has influenced all aspects of our lives: existential, ethical and aesthetical. A field of cultural activities, which was, to the certain extent a cause of this obsession, has make a fast adjustment to the new circumstances and also it becomes obsessed with the past – heritage become a value above all values. Contemporary art was marginalized and yielded to non-profit organizations, independent curators and producers. Today,
 when the role of the contemporary art becomes more important – in function of the tourist industry, in function of economic development, in function of urban renewal, in function of social cohesion – it seems that again it is in the focus of those who ostracize it at beginning of the 90’. That means that happy nineties are behind us and that we can expect better days for functional contemporary art. The dysfunctional one is, anyhow, always on the margins.

Lia & Dan Perjovschi (artists, CAA, Romania)


The presentation will describe a) the strategy to stay independent in a art scene dominated by the arrogant State institutions and the new mythologies created by an chaotic art market b) the artist role in preserving criticism and c) how to balance between local and international art context keeping intact your brains.

Center for Art Analysis former Archive for Contemporary Art is an independent project institution run by Lia and Dan Perjovschi

Ovidiu Ţichindeleanu (social theorist, USA)

Myth and Complicity: The Mysticism of Post-Communist "Freedom" And Its Denials

The happiness of the 1990s has been a mixture of un-refrained consumerism supported by the certitude of the disenchantment from the communist nightmare. In this intervention I present a few genealogies that are drawing on the historical coincidence between the penetration of the capital and the cultural production of symbolic realities on the Eastern European markets after 1989. This will show the limits of the proclaimed "freedom" of expression and will open towards the imminent question of what has to be done after the happy silencing 1990s.

Cosmin Costinas (curator, art theorist, Romania)

After the Happy Nineties – the frame

This presentation will try to outline those evolutions which lead to the situation to-be-maped out in the project, stating our starting position and also the expected outcome of the project.

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 
Nettime-ro mailing list
Nettime-ro {AT} nettime.org
arhiva: http://amsterdam.nettime.org/