Dejan Sretenović: Red Horizon: The Avant-Garde and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1919–1932 (2021)

12 August 2021, dusan

Red Horizon is the first study to focus on the Yugoslav avant-gardes from the perspective of the history of left-wing political ideas. Bearing in mind that the Yugoslav avant-gardes were politically oriented towards the radical left, and considered the aesthetic revolution an integral part of the social revolution, the book explores the modes of manifestation of the ideas of Marxism and anarchism in the programmes and activities of the avant-gardes, ranging from Expressionism, through Zenitism, Dada, Hipnism, Constructivism to Surrealism. The policies of the Yugoslav avant-gardes are considered in the context of European avant-garde currents and ideational struggles on the left cultural front, as well as in the light of the development of Marxist aesthetics and the attitudes organised Communism assumed towards modern art. The book is structured in the form of a historical-theoretical narrative, starting from the interpretation of the avant-garde and Communism as the two great epic narratives of the 20th century, and telling of the rebellions, dreams, conflicts, victories and defeats of those who wanted to radically change the society and art of their epoch.”

Publisher, Novi Sad, 2021
Red Publications series
Translated by Katarina Radović
ISBN 9788688567244
228 pages


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Barton Byg: Landscapes of Resistance: The German Films of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub (1995)

4 August 2016, dusan

“Fervently admired and frequently reviled, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet—who have lived and worked together since the 1950s—may well be the most uncompromising, not to say intransigent, filmmakers in the history of the medium. Their radical and deeply political films placed them as forerunners of the New German Cinema movement in the 1960s and influential figures in the subsequent explosion of the European avant-garde. In Landscapes of Resistance, Barton Byg fills a significant gap in modern German and European cinema studies by tracing the career of the two filmmakers and exploring their connection to German modernism, in particular their relationship to the Frankfurt School.

Although they are not German themselves, Straub and Huillet have used German material as the basis for the majority of their films. They have transcribed prose by Böll and Kafka, operas by Schoenberg, and verse dramas by Hölderlin. Byg explores how their work engages German culture with a critical distance and affection and confronts the artificiality of divisions between high and low culture.”

Publisher University of California Press, 1995
Open access
ISBN 0520089081, 9780520089082
xiii+303 pages

Reviews: Ulrich Kriest (Medienwissenschaft 1997, DE), Margret Eifler (The German Quarterly 2000).


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Souffles: revue maghrébine littéraire et culturelle (1966-71) [French, Arabic]

13 May 2016, dusan

““This slim booklet contains dynamite,” wrote Policy in its 1966 review of new Moroccan quarterly magazine, Souffles. Instigated by a small group of self-professed “linguistic guerrillas” as “a manifesto for a new aesthetics in the Maghreb”, it became a conduit for a new generation of writers, artists, and intellectuals to stage a revolution against imperialist and colonial cultural domination. The starting point for this revolution was language.

From its first issue, Souffles posed an aggressive challenge to the traditional Francophone and Arabophone literary divides by encouraging experimentation, translations and collaborations. It wasn’t long before its trademark cover emblazoned with an intense black sun radiated throughout Africa, the Arab world, West Indies and the Black Atlantic. In the early 1970s the magazine changed focus. Motivated by the crushing Arab defeat in Six-Day War and the Paris uprisings, its founder, editor and publisher Abdellatif Laâbi declared that “literature was no longer sufficient.” After the 15th issue, dedicated to Palestine, Souffles underwent a major redesign, emerging as a new firebrand organ of leftist revolutionary group, Ila al-Amam. This new political agenda caught the attention of the authorities and in 1972 the magazine was banned and Laâbi arrested. While in prison he was awarded several international poetry prizes. After a long solidarity campaign, he regained his freedom in 1980.

Souffles was inspired by Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, as well as early postcolonial writers such Aime Cesaire, Mario de Andrade, and René Depestre and journals like Presence Africaine. Since its demise, few publications have matched its stature, appeal, or intellectual authority. Its influence can however be felt in contemporary magazines such as Le Journal, Nichane and Biddoun.” (Source)

Up to the double issue 10-11, the magazine was in French only, afterwards it also included Arabic section entitled Anfâs. The magazine cover was designed by painter Mohamed Melehi.

Edited by Abdellatif Laâbi
Published in Rabat, Morocco, 1966-71
via Bibliothèque nationale du royaume du Maroc

Writings about the magazine