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 – [email protected] / 0722 584 231

Vasile Ernu – [email protected] / 0745 502 861

Attila Tordai -S. – [email protected]

Goethe Institut coordinator – Cristina Bortun – [email protected]

Assistant – Delia Stan – [email protected]

/ 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)


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

17.30 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 – 4×4

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