Even more than ten years after the end of the Cold War the cultural gap between the east and the west has not been completely bridged. This situation depends above all on the differing conditions in which the cultural discourse in the east and the west has developed, a situation which has led to numerous misunderstandings on both sides. In the west the relation between culture and the marketplace has for decades stood in the center of critical reflections, both on the part of the intellectual as well as on that of the artist, and their theoretical and artistic activities have chiefly aimed at curbing the influence of the marketplace and establishing the primacy of politics.
But in the communist east the marketplace had long ago been eliminated and the primacy of politics was pervasive. Thus for the east the marketplace represented utopia. As a result eastern intellectuals and artists placed their faith in a marketplace of a western character – even, and especially, if their discourse and works of art shared the same emancipatory impulses as those of their western counterparts. Whimsically put, radical intellectuals and artists in the west embraced Marxism, while those in the east became card-carrying Reaganites. In the meantime the transformations in the model of modernization have taken place in the east, and there the question arises how the reality of the marketplace will be reflected in theory and art. In the framework of the project, "The Post-Communist Condition,” operating under the auspices of the German Federal Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes), east-European artists and intellectuals will be endeavoring to answer this question. The project, under the direction of Boris Groys at the Center for Art and Media (ZKM l Zentrum für
Kunst und Medientechnologie) in Karlsruhe, includes a publication series in which important cultural and theoretical art texts from eastern Europe will be translated and for the first time made available to a German-speaking public. At the end of the project a large international conference will be held and an exhibition of films and video works will be organized.
A project initiated by the
German Federal Cultural Foundation
in cooperation with the
Center for Art and Media (ZKM)