In the countries of Eastern Europe, art and culture have developed differently than in the West. Although this statement has become a cliché, up to now very little work has been done examining the historical and current conditions of cultural production in the former socialist countries.
One central theme of this project is the relationship between public space and private space. The structured art market of western countries, with galleries, artistic associations, art collectors and art publications, did not exist in the same way in eastern European countries. Rather, art in the public arena was influenced on the one hand by the utopian positions of the avant-garde, and on the other by the artistic doctrine of "socialist realism". Artists who did not conform to this pattern often had no choice but to evacuate their production into conspirative spaces.
A forum of researchers and artists from East and West will examine the processes of modernisation under communism and in the post-communist era. Another question to be tackled is what effects the transformation from the eastern European communist model to the western, capitalist model is having on art and culture in eastern European countries. The project consists of three models:
Research: Several scholarships will be granted to enable authors, researchers and artists, mainly from eastern Europe, to carry out independent research. The results of this research will be translated into German.
Translation: The goal is the translation of writings by the Russian avant-garde and by contemporary eastern European researchers which have not yet been published in German.
Conference: The project will end with an international conference to be held in Berlin in spring. It will be accompanied by the art exhibition "Privatisierungen".
The project will be overseen by Boris Groys, Professor of Philosophy and Media Theory in Karlsruhe, and funded by the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. The research and translation parts of the project will begin in the spring of 2003, with the conference planned for the spring of 2004.