Ausnahmsweise folgt hier ein englischer Artikel in der
Eastern Europe, Post-Socialism and the Retro-Avant-Garde
Written by the Slovenian philosopher and media artist Marina
Grzinic - Published by edition selene Vienna + Springerin, Vienna, 2000. In
Englih, 230 p. with b/w reproductions. Get the book from Amazon.de
From the introduction in the book Fiction
Reconstructed by Marina Grzinic. Published by the permission of the author. All rights
In this book, my point of departure is a difference between Eastern and
Western Europe that I try to conceptualize philosophically, insisting on a
difference - a critical difference within and not a special classification
method marking the process of grounding differences, such as apartheid, as
Trinh T. Minh-ha has suggested. The question of who is allowed to write about
the history of art, culture and politics in the area once known as Eastern
Europe must be posed alongside questions of how and when those events are
Trinh T. Minh-ha has proposed a model for re-thinking Asian space and the
so-called third world through the concept of the “inappropriate/d Other”.
This can also be seen as a possibly useful tool to develop specific concepts
of reading - the former Eastern European territory. It is time to find and to
re-write paradigms of specific spaces, arts and media productions in Eastern
Europe. This book can be perceived as a radical theorization of a particular
(Eastern European) position; here positioning means repoliticization.
The biggest part of the book focuses on selected artistic projects and
concepts by Mladen Stilinovic (Zagreb), Kasimir Malevich (Belgrade, 1986), and
the group Irwin (NSK) (Ljubljana), which were developed in the territory of
the former Yugoslavia, and continue to function, develop, and mutate. These
projects are read via dialectic positioning (i.e., thesis, anti-thesis, and
synthesis) within not only countries of the former Yugoslavia, but also
Eastern Europe in general. Finally, they are linked with the notion of ‘Retro-Avant-garde,’
or, as I label it, the new ‘ism’ of the East. ‘Retro-Avant-garde’ has
developed before the entrance to the third millennium and represents,
metaphorically speaking, the ‘soft revolution’ in Eastern European art and
culture. However, these artistic processes, as I demonstrate, can be ascribed
to numerous philosophical about faces brought on by the media culture itself.
They - not only visualize and conceptualize the processes of thought developed
within new media and technology, but also conceptualize the system in itself
and the operational logic of new media and technology. Within the framework
and context of these works, it became possible to detect models of thought and
perception, which allows one to question the visible and the political.
Moreover, similar strategies are now being developed by new media technologies
and interpreted philosophically and theoretically. Consequently, classical
arts strategies and concepts have acquired a radically different meaning
compared with this reversed media logic.
If these projects give ‘only’ the appearance of dissimilarity and
idiosyncrasy, we should consequently question the genesis of this appearance,
and attempt to decipher how and by which mechanisms the events themselves
created this phantasmagoric surface.
Set in relation to foreign Western European and American capital centers,
the media events (i.e., virtual reality, the Internet, the ‘media obsession’
over the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, etc.) literally metastasized from day to
day, opening up innumerable interpretations. I treat new media in an attempt
to re-define certain fundamental concepts in the history of philosophy and
theory, notably the subject, real/virtual, (public and media) space, in
relation to the real war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the virtual war of the
subject with its so-called double in virtual environments.
I deal therefore with political and ethical questions concerning processes
of the (de-)visualization and re-articulation of space and time in relation to
new media. I inquire whether it is possible to provide - and if so, how - a
positive political image of the visible, which opens new possibilities for
creating emancipated politics and, albeit in a limited scope, the project of
the positive social environment.
The very process of negotiating the mutations of Post-Socialism requires
the development of new visual and media strategies that problematize
representation and self-representation. In the last part of the book, I
propose models and paradigms of alternating identifications that question
familiar forms of representation and allow the formation of new forms of
articulation. However, and this is the interesting twist, such an
interpretation can be also used for positioning and for raising questions of
reflection on and articulation of the Post-Socialist ‘Eastern European’
condition. There is something very definite about this condition – it
produces a specific spectralization of representation, space and time.
Fiction Reconstructed is also placed within a certain personal
interpretative system, a logic in which to develop the theory of aesthetics
and politics, and to re-philosophize the Eastern European region. It is the
successor to the book entitled In the Line for Virtual Bread. Time, Space,
Subject and the New Media in the Year 2000 (ZPS, Ljubljana 1996), in which
I presented, linked and supplemented for the internal, Slavic space, the
general paradigms of theories and philosophies of the new media in connection
with our post-socialist reality. Fiction Reconstructed, on the other
hand, offers a very detailed inquiry into specific Post-Socialist art and
The essays in the book are therefore the fruits of more than a decade of
writing about the artistic, cultural and media events that have taken place in
the former Yugoslav territories throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. Over the
years, a number of these essays have been widely published in Slovenia and
abroad. All the essays presented in this volume are revisited.
In many ways, the East has not provided the West with the relevant
theoretical and interpretative instruments to recognize the uniqueness,
idiosyncrasies, diversity and originality of artistic projects in Eastern
Europe. There is very little documentation of this history, and sometimes it
seems as though even the cultural and theoretical domain of Eastern Europe is
incapable of offering interpretation or self-reflection on these projects and
phenomena. I hope that this book will help to fill that void.
Marina Grzinic Mauhler (email@example.com)
is doctor of philosophy and works as researcher at the Institute of Philosophy
at the ZRC SAZU (Scientific and Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of
Science and Art) in Ljubljana. She also works as a freelance media theorist,
art critic and curator. Marina Grzinic has been involved with video art since
1982. In collaboration with Aina Smid she has produced more than 30 video art
projects, a short film, numerous video and media installations, Internet
websites and an interactive CD-ROM (ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany). Marina Grzinic
has published hundreds of articles and essays and 5 books, including In a Line
for Virtual Bread. Time, Space, the Subject and New Media in a Year 2000,
Ljubljana 1996 and Zagreb 1999. In the year 2000 two
of her essays were published, one for MIT Press and the other for Ablex
Company: Grzinic, “Exposure Time, the Aura, and Telerobotics” in The Robot
in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet,
ed. Ken Goldberg (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000) and Grzinic,
“Strategies of Visualisation and the Aesthetics of Video in the New
Europe” in Culture and Technology in the New Europe: Civic Discourse in
Transformation in Post-Communist Nations, ed. Laura Lengel (London: Ablex
Publishing Company, 2000).
Marina Grzinic: Fiction reconstructed.
Eastern Europe, Post-Socialism and the Retro-Avant-Garde. Published by edition selene Vienna + Springerin, Vienna,
2000. In English, 230 p. with b/w reproductions. ISBN: 3852661536. Get the
book from Amazon.de.