John Beck, Ryan Bishop: Technocrats of the Imagination: Art, Technology, and the Military-Industrial Avant-Garde (2020)

1 August 2020, dusan

“In Technocrats of the Imagination John Beck and Ryan Bishop explore the collaborations between the American avant-garde art world and the military-industrial complex during the 1960s, in which artists worked with scientists and engineers in universities, private labs, and museums. For artists, designers, and educators working with the likes of Bell Labs, the RAND Corporation, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, experiments in art and technology presaged not only a new aesthetic but a new utopian social order based on collective experimentation. In examining these projects’ promises and pitfalls and how they have inspired a new generation of collaborative labs populated by artists, engineers, and scientists, Beck and Bishop reveal the connections between the contemporary art world and the militarized lab model of research that has dominated the sciences since the 1950s.”

Publisher Duke University Press, Durham, 2020
Cultural Politics series
ISBN 9781478005957, 1478005955
viii+229 pages

Review: Lindsay Caplan (Art in America, 2020).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF

Jennifer Iverson: Electronic Inspirations: Technologies of the Cold War Musical Avant-Garde (2018)

29 April 2020, dusan

“Cold War electronic music—made with sine tone and white-noise generators, filters, and magnetic tape—was the driving force behind the evolution of both electronic and acoustic music in the second half of the twentieth century. Electronic music blossomed at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR [West German Radio]) in Cologne in the 1950s, when technologies were plentiful and the need for cultural healing was great. Building an electronic studio, West Germany confronted the decimation of the “Zero Hour” and began to rebuild its cultural prowess. The studio’s greatest asset was its laboratory culture, where composers worked under a paradigm of invisible collaboration with technicians, scientists, performers, intellectuals, and the machines themselves. Composers and their invisible collaborators repurposed military machinery in studio spaces that were formerly fascist broadcasting propaganda centers. Composers of Cold War electronic music reappropriated information theory and experimental phonetics, creating aesthetic applications from military discourses. In performing such reclamations, electronic music optimistically signaled cultural growth and progress, even as it also sonified technophobic anxieties. Electronic music—a synthesis of technological, scientific, and aesthetic discourses—was the ultimate Cold War innovation, and its impacts reverberate today.”

Publisher Oxford University Press, New York, 2018
The New Cultural History of Music series
ISBN 9780190868192, 0190868198
xi+303 pages

Reviews: Lucie Vágnerová (Integral, 2019), Ted Gordon (Current Musicology, 2019), James Davis (Music & Letters, 2019), Maurice Windleburn (Sound Studies, 2020).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (32 MB)

Klara Kemp-Welch: Networking the Bloc: Experimental Art in Eastern Europe 1965-1981 (2018)

28 April 2020, dusan

“Throughout the 1970s, a network of artists emerged to bridge the East-West divide, and the no less rigid divides between the countries of the Eastern bloc. Originating with a series of creative initiatives by artists, art historians, and critics and centered in places like Budapest, Poznań, and Prague, this experimental dialogue involved Western participation but is today largely forgotten in the West. In Networking the Bloc, Klara Kemp-Welch vividly recaptures this lost chapter of art history, documenting an elaborate web of artistic connectivity that came about through a series of personal encounters, pioneering dialogues, collaborative projects, and cultural exchanges. Countering the conventional Cold War narrative of Eastern bloc isolation, Kemp-Welch shows how artistic ideas were relayed among like-minded artists across ideological boundaries and national frontiers.

Much of the work created was collaborative, and personal encounters were at its heart. Drawing on archival documents and interviews with participants, Kemp-Welch focuses on the exchanges and projects themselves rather than the personalities involved. Each of the projects she examines relied for its realization on a network of contributors. She looks first at the mobilization of the network, from 1964 to 1972, exploring five pioneering cases: a friendship between a Slovak artist and a French critic, an artistic credo, an exhibition, a conceptual proposition, and a book. She then charts a series of way stations for experimental art from the Soviet bloc between 1972 and 1976—points of distribution between studios, private homes, galleries, and certain cities. Finally, she investigates convergences—a succession of shared exhibitions and events in the second half of the 1970s in locations ranging from Prague to Milan to Moscow. Networking the Bloc, Kemp-Welch invites us to rethink the art of the late Cold War period from Eastern European perspectives.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2018
ISBN 9780262038300, 0262038307
xi+468 pages

Reviews: Cristian Nae (ARTMargins, 2019), Denisa Tomkova (H-Net, 2020), Henry Meyric Hughes (Critique d’art, 2020).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (17 MB)