Ostranenie (forum)

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Ostranenie was an international forum of exchange and debate held at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Dessau. The events examined electronic media as a borderless guarantor of cultural diversification and national expression between Eastern and Western Europe. The Forum aimed at contributing to the structure of information and level of perception concerning electronic media arts as a function of the process of democratisation and cultural orientation in the post Cold War Europe of the late twentieth century.

The four Ostranenie events of 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999 presented video works, multimedia installations, net-based projects, performances and discussion fora which reflected the historical Bauhaus' fusion of art and technology as a means of redefining the structure of a society in transition. By examining the transformation of cultural identities within the perceived stateless realm of electronic telecommunications, Ostranenie invited a debate into the role these media played in establishing a more socially and politically unified environment for the future.

The Forum's title - extracted from Viktor Shklovsky’s 1916 terminus priëm ostranenija - followed up on the Russian Formalist's call to establish a new vision through art via a shift in the perception of the social, cultural and living environment. Applied to the cultural and political estrangement brought on by the collapse of the Cold War world order in Eastern and Central Europe in 1989, Ostranenie reflected the state of societal transformation in this region through the complex role played by electronic media art and discourse. In societies whose fundamental structure had been increasingly influenced by the power of the broadcast image and network telecommunication, the function of the electronic media in defining cultural and political identities had become more significant than ever before. (2000)

Initiated by Stephen Kovats and Inke Arns.



  • Ostranenie: 1. Internationales Videofestival am Bauhaus Dessau, 4.-7.11.1993: erschütterte Mythe, neue Realitäten: Osteuropa im Focus der Videokamera / 1. Meždunarodnyj videofestival v Bauchaus Dessau: poshatnuvshiesya myfy, novaya deystvitelnost: vostochnaya Evropa v fokuse videokamery / 1. International Video Festival at the Bauhaus Dessau: Shattered Myths, New Realities: Video Focus on Eastern Europe, eds. Inke Arns and Elisabeth Tharandt, Dessau: Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, 1993, 499 pp. Selected texts: Erjavec, Arns, Sei, Kovats, Kuhn, Milev, Sobetzko, Czegledy, Performances, more. [3] [4] (German),(Russian),(English)
  • OSTranenie '95: das internationale Video-Forum an der Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / The International Video Forum at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation: Video, Installation, Performance, Workshop: 8.-12. November, eds. Mirja Rosenau, Stephen Kovats, Thomas Munz, and Tina Rehn, Dessau: Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, 1995, 403+14 pp. [5] [6] (German)/(English)
  • Ostranenie '97: Dessau 5.-9. Dezember 1997: das internationale Forum elektronischer Medien / the International Electronic Media Forum, eds. Mirja Rosenau and Stephen Kovats, Dessau: Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, 1997, 553 pp. [7] [8] (German)/(English)
  • Ost-West Internet: elektronische Medien im Transformationsprozess Ost- und Mitteleuropas / Media Revolution: Electronic Media in the Transformation Process of Eastern and Central Europe, ed. Stephen Kovats, Frankfurt am Main/New York: Campus (Edition Bauhaus 6), 1999, 381 pp. ISBN 9783593363653. TOC, TOC. Review: Broeckmann (Leonardo). [9] [10] [11] (German)/(English)
  • Ostranenie 93 95 97, ed. Stephen Kovats, Dessau: Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, 1999. CD-ROM, Mac & PC. ISBN 3910022308. Documents the works and impressions of over 400 artists, critics, academics and journalists from 32 countries who participated in the Ostranenie events from 1993 to 1997. Produced by the Studio Electronic Media Interpretation of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in cooperation with C3 - Soros Foundation Budapest. [12] [13]