Margit Rosen, et al. (eds.): A Little-Known Story About a Movement, a Magazine, and The Computer’s Arrival in Art: New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961-1973 (2011)

10 April 2021, dusan

“When Zagreb was the epicenter of explorations into the aesthetic potential of the new “thinking machines.”

This book documents a short but intense artistic experiment that took place in Yugoslavia in the 1960s and 1970s but has been influential far beyond that time and place: the “little-known story” of the advent of computers in art. It was through the activities of the New Tendencies movement, begun in Zagreb in 1961, and its supporting institution the Galerija suvremene umjetnosti that the “thinking machine” was adopted as an artistic tool and medium. Pursuing the idea of “art as visual research,” the New Tendencies movement proceeded along a path that led from Concrete and Constructivist art, Op art, and Kinetic art to computer-generated graphics, film, and sculpture.

With their exhibitions and conferences and the 1968 launch of the multilingual, groundbreaking magazine Bit International, the New Tendencies transformed Zagreb—already one of the most vibrant artistic centers in Yugoslavia—into an international meeting place where artists, engineers, and scientists from both sides of the Iron Curtain gathered around the then-new technology. For a brief moment in time, Zagreb was the epicenter of explorations of the aesthetic, scientific, and political potential of the computer.

This volume documents that exhilarating period. It includes new essays by Jerko Denegri, Darko Fritz, Margit Rosen, and Peter Weibel; many texts that were first published in New Tendencies exhibition catalogs and Bit International magazine; and historic documents. More than 650 black-and-white and color illustrations testify to the astonishing diversity of the exhibited artworks and introduce the movement’s protagonists. Many of the historic photographs, translations, and documents are published here for the first time. Taken together, the images and texts offer the long overdue history of the New Tendencies experiment and its impact on the art of the twentieth century.”

Edited by Margit Rosen in collaboration with Peter Weibel, Darko Fritz, and Marija Gattin
Publisher ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, and MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2011
ISBN 9780262515818, 0262515814
576 pages

Reviews: Brian Reffin Smith (Leonardo, 2012), Joanna Inglot (Slavic Review, 2012), Greg Borman (ARLIS/NA, 2011).

Book website
Exhibition (ZKM, 2008)
Publisher
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (102 MB)

See also New Tendencies and Bit International on Monoskop wiki.

Jonas Staal: Propaganda Art in the 21st Century (2019)

24 February 2021, dusan

“Propaganda art—whether a depiction of joyous workers in the style of socialist realism or a film directed by Steve Bannon—delivers a message. But, as Jonas Staal argues, propaganda does not merely make a political point; it aims to construct reality itself. Political regimes have shaped our world according to their interests and ideology; today, popular mass movements push back by constructing other worlds with their own propagandas.

Staal shows that propaganda is not a relic of a totalitarian past but occurs today even in liberal democracies. He considers different historical forms of propaganda art, from avant-garde to totalitarian and modernist, and he investigates the us versus them dichotomy promoted in War on Terror propaganda art—describing, among other things, a fictional scenario from the Department of Homeland Security, acted out in real time, and military training via videogame. He discusses artistic and cultural productions developed by such popular mass movements of the twenty-first century as the Occupy, activism by and in support of undocumented migrants and refugees, and struggles for liberation in such countries as Mali and Syria.

Staal proposes a new model of emancipatory propaganda art—one that acknowledges the relation between art and power and takes both an aesthetic and a political position in the practice of world-making.”

Publisher MIT Press, September 2019
ISBN 9780262042802, 0262042800
230 pages

Interview with author: Pierre d’Alancaisez (New Books Network, 2021, podcast).

Reviews: Christoph Chwatal (Third Text, 2020), Hailey Maxwell (The Drouth, 2020), Joerg Bader (Critique d’art, 2019, FR).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF, PDF (12 MB, updated on 2021-4-13)

Artists & Agents: Performance Art and Secret Services (2019)

14 February 2021, dusan

Artists & Agents puts the spotlight on a neglected aspect of performance art from the 1960s to the 1990s: the interaction between secret services and performance art – an art form which the secret service agencies of communist Eastern European countries considered especially dangerous. Eastern Europe is one of the few places where archival records have been made public, and they reveal how these agencies acted to “undermine” and “eliminate” dissident artists. To achieve this objective, however, the agents themselves sometimes had to become “performance artists.”

Building on in-depth research into the archival records of secret services in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Germany, this publication shines a light on the files which the secret services of these countries kept about such artists. It showcases instances of artistic subversion and agent infiltration, some of which have not been disclosed before, while more recent works demonstrate that the issue of ramping up intelligence gathering operations in politics and everyday life is highly topical. This catalogue includes an introduction, a glossary explaining secret service terminology, entries on the relevant works of art, and background information on all of the files presented.”

Edited by Inke Arns, Kata Krasznahorkai, Sylvia Sasse, and HMKV (Hartware MedienKunstverein)
Publisher Kettler, Dortmund, 2019
Open access
ISBN 9783862068395, 3862068390
224 pages

Interview with curators: Map (2021, DE).
Exh. review: Georg Imdahl (FAZ, 2019, DE).

Exhibition
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF, PDF (11 MB)