Sweet 60s: Movements and Spaces

conference / Sweet 60s

Text Information/
Picture Gallery/

Sweet 60s: Movements and Spaces

3. & 4. 12. 2010, Gallery Nova, Teslina 7, Zagreb

co-organized by & WHW
within the framework of Act 4/ 8th Shangai Biennial

"Sweet 60s" is a long-term experimental research project that investigates hidden territories of the revolutionary period of the 1960s, regarded from contemporary artistic and theoretical perspectives. The curatorial and artistic focus lies on “post ideological societies” (in post-soviet, post socialistic, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, West and Central Asian as well as North African countries, and in a second phase in China and Latin America) and in making a comparative analysis and contextualization of the historical developments in arts, culture and society of the 1960s and 70s, and their subsequent effects on contemporary socio-political and cultural situations.

The main focus lies upon the still underexposed global cultural shift in the 1960s and its subsequent effects in countries that were skipped out from the historical explorations of that particular revolutionary period. The general perception of 1960s period is still being associated with western culture and with the formal fragmented replications of processes on the “peripheries” and “outskirts”. "Sweet 60s" points at, reiterates, and re-narrates the still hidden geographies and societies of this cultural shift that most recently is getting rediscovered as a main influence for young artists in different localities around the globe.

In contrast to the now accepted master narratives and historical canons, "Sweet 60s" considers the processes of 1960s not as an eruption of a volcano with its fading away waves generating echoes in the rest of the world, but as a certain general socio-cultural, political, economical condition evolving in global context, which determined the development of parallel modernities interrelated with the development of diverse radical socio-political and cultural processes in every part of the world.

the seminar is funded by:
City Office for Culture, Education and Sport City of Zagreb
Erste Foundation
Ministry of Culture Republic of Croatia
National Foundation for Support of Civil Society Croatia
Shangai Biennial

Friday, 03.12.2010.

Socialist self-management

Branko Dimitrijević, Vesna Kesić, Matko Meštrović, Ozren Pupovac
Moderator: Dejan Kršić / WHW

The starting point of the panel is the social, political and cultural life in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1960s, from the perspective of socialist self-management, at the times when the Yugoslav model of socialist self-management achieved a considerable economic development and was widely respected by the Left as an alternative to both statistic and capitalistic societies.
In both social and economic terms, self-management in Yugoslavia was seen as the basis of 'withering away of the state' and a phase of transition towards the communist society, through a break with both the planned Stalinist economy and the liberal capitalism. On one hand, this created a hybrid of various forms of economic organization that enabled direct democracy at lower levels of production. On the other hand, the incorporation of elements of both the planned economy, manifested in Party control, and the market economy (especially as a result of the liberalization of the Yugoslav markets after 1965) brought about the deep chasm between proclaimed and realized ideals of socialism.
Although the 1960s will culminate with resistance to 'red bourgeois' of new technocratic elites that gained momentum after economic reforms in 1965, the 1960's are a decade of strong economic growth that is seriously committed to the building of self-management, and questions of modernism and modernization had not yet been suppressed by national political movements that characterized the economic stagnation of the 1970s.
The panel discusses relations of self-management and education, forging of Yugoslav consumerism, patterns of ever-lingering cliches of the 'dissident' artist, the position of women in proclaimed equality of sexes, contradictions inherent to understanding of class struggle in Yugoslav self-management. Although the panel is focused on Yugoslavia, the model of Yugoslav self-management is understood as a case study, which forms the background to a broader discussion on models of artists' self-organizations and politicization of neo-avant-garde movements. It takes a look at the discredited heritage of a socialist alternative to modernism not as an exercise in nostalgia or orientation-training for confused post-communist cultural workers navigating between mutually supported demands of ethno-nationalism and neo-liberalism, but as a question what could be its truly alternative and emancipatory content.

Saturday, 04.12.2010

11 – 12h
public interview with Matko Meštrović, by Sabina Sabolović/ WHW

The interview will focus on the movement and series of exhibitions and events 'New Tendencies', held in Zagreb from 1961 - 1973.

Politicized forms of neo-avantgarde
Vardan Azatyan, Abdellah Karroum, Želimir Koščević
Moderator: Ivet Ćurlin/ WHW

The panel looks into different institutional and organizational frameworks and models within which modernists and neo-avant-garde movements operated, and how these resonate with the present. It will discuss examples such as the position of avant-garde and neo-avant-garde movements in relation to the national emancipation in Armenia, representations of the African continent in the processes of disintegration of system of modernism and ingenious insights in its links with colonialism, and the international movement of 'New Tendencies', whose complex relations to ideas of universal emancipation, potentials and meanings of artistic agency and concept of autonomy of art conceived through self-sufficiency, disciplinary enclosure, professional division of labor, etc., for generations to come influenced the ways in which modernism and its transformation in Yugoslavia are discussed. Although crucial for understanding today's institutional relationships within art as well as forms of contemporary cultural activism and self-organization, on the local level the importance of 'New Tendencies' is only recently being institutionalized, often misunderstanding their international and emancipatory yearnings for debates on center and periphery, artistic freedom and notions of creativity.
The proposal is to look at the dynamics as well as the historical and present assessments of modernist and neo-avant-garde movements from the perspective that bypass view of western-dominated success story of 'conceptual practices', looking instead to their social commitments and links to broader culture and social movements. What insights into the legacy of 'New Tendencies' might have in common with explorations of encounters of the hippie movement and the late beatniks with the Maroccans in the 60s, or with the understanding of cultural and political forces active in the Soviet peripheries of the late thaw and early Brezhniev period, or have to do with the perspective that looks beyond nationalistic and postcolonial framework and common resentment of socialist project of modernization.

Reorganizing urban space in collective modality
Dafne Berc and Maroje Mrduljaš, Tony Chakar, Omar Nagati
moderator: Georg Schöllhammer /

“The major metropolis in almost every newly-industrialising country is not a single unified city, but, in fact, two quite different cities, physically juxtaposed but architecturally and socially distinct y These dual cities have usually been a legacy from the colonial past.” (Janet Abu-Lughod, 1965)

In the 1960’s many of the cities of the socialist and decolonized worlds had to face a shift in urban self-reception and governance. This shift mostly from colonial to postcolonial often meant a new scope for the state, which was now to represent the entire populace, not just imperial interests. Town planning got a central figure in this shift. Symbolically this was expressed in the supply of representational structures and government-provided housing as well as infrastructure to meet that new demand,
In addition to existing spatial inequalities, however, the capitals of the newly independent nations were faced with additional symbolic contradictions in the city. Architecture and urban planning whether modest or grandiose, had been consciously conceived to convey cultural as well as political authority. To reflect on its own vernacular cultures, representational spaces, and modes of signification, was not only a much longer-term project but also, because of competing regional, ethnic, linguistic, and other tensions. Often it was the continuation of colonial patterns that survived in rapidly urbanizing, low-capital cities.
Prestige buildings in a hybrid modernist style would signal the country‘s independence and housing estates built to resemble European towns would signal its economic strength. And yet, shaping and sanitizing a major international city was not and could never be such a simple task. Despite what official ideology often proclaimed, the new territorial concept often did not succeeded at producing sufficient synergy effects to set into motion a self-supporting development. The prestige projects often remained imposing gestures whose symbolic integrational power was not enough to lastingly secure the legitimacy of this planning. The insoluble contradiction between the imaginary space of power dramatization and the real space of everyday life likewise contributed to prolong a social divide. Similarly, the culture of the informal economy and the illegal city were shaped by the inhabitants, but not chosen by them. Those two trends—the government‘s new responsibilities in matters of architecture and urbanism and the unplanned growth of an informal city — were often the motors driving the development of architectural and urban scapes in the decades after independence. In response both were forced to articulate their own visions for the shape of the city.
The panel questions the still existing analysis of these developments in dualistic categories traditional/modern, old/new, and intends to show that social and spatial divisions in the city were not nearly so clear cut as has been represented. Instead, there were charged interconnections between the two modalities and spaces. The new postcolonial settlement offered opportunities to self-organize and move between cultures and spaces, constructing new identities, identifying with the new and creating indigenous modernities.


Vardan Azatyan (Yerevan) is Assistant Professor in art history and theory at Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts, Armenia. He was a Visiting Professor at Columbia University and a Guest Teacher at Dutch Art Institute. His recent publications include articles in Oxford Art Journal, Human Affairs, Springerin, The Internationaler. He is a member of International Association of Art Critics and a co-editor (with Malcolm Miles) of the volume Cultural Memory (University of Plymouth Press, 2010). He is the translator of major works by David Hume and George Berkeley into Armenian.

Dafne Berc (Zagreb) is architect, currently completing her Phd thesis "Mediterranean Species" at Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya in Barcelona. She has finished postgraduate studies at Berlage Institute in Netherlands, and studies of architecture at the School of Architecture of Zagreb University, where she is teaching at the Department for Urbanism, city planning and landscape architecture. With Luciano Basauri in 2007 she formed ANALOG, an organization for architectural design and research.

Tony Chakar (Beirut) is an architect and writer, born in Beirut in 1968. His works include: A Retroactive Monument for a Chimerical City (1999); All That is Solid Melts Into Air (2000); Four Cotton Underwear for Tony: Ashkal Alwan, TownHouse Gallery, Cairo, also shown in many European cities as part of Contemporary Arab Representations, a project curated by Catherine David (2001-02) and in the exhibition "Closer" at the Beirut Art Centre (2009); Rouwaysset, a Modern Vernacular (With Naji Assi): Contemporary Arab Representations, the Sharjah Biennial and Sao Paolo, S.A.(2001-03); Beirut, the Impossible Portrait: The Venice Biennial (2003); The Eyeless Map: Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2003); My Neck is Thinner than a Hair (2004), a lecture/performance with Walid Raad and Bilal Khbeiz, shown in different locations around the world; A Window to the World (2005); Various Small Fires (2007): The Royal College of Art, London; Memorial to the Iraq War (2007): ICA, London; Yesterday's Man (2007): a play-performance with Rabih Mroué and Tiago Rodrigues showing in several European cities; The Eighth Day (2008-2010): an ongoing project in the form of a lecture/performance. He also contributes to European art magazines, and teaches History of Art and History of Architecture at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux arts (ALBA).

Branislav Dimitrijević (Belgrade) is lecturer in history and theory of art, writer and curator. He is Senior Lecturer at the School for Art and Design (VSLPUb) in Belgrade and part-time Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade. With Branislava Andjelković and Branimir Stojanović he co-founded and coordinated “School for History and Theory of Images”, an independent educational project in Belgrade (1999-2003). He has been publishing essays on contemporary art and theory of art, film and visual culture, and he edited a series of publications and exhibition catalogues including On Normality: Art in Serbia 1989-2001 (MOCA, Belgrade, 2005). His curatorial projects include: Murder1 (CKZD, Belgrade 1997), Konverzacija (MOCA, Belgrade 2001), Situated Self: Confused Compassionate, Conflictual (Helsinki City Museum; MOCA, Belgrade, 2005), Americans in Belgrade: Two exhibitions and Post-war Modernism (MOCA, Belgrade, 2006), Breaking Step – Displacement, Compassion and Humour in recent art from Britain (MOCA, Belgrade, 2007), FAQ Serbia (ACF, New York, 2010). He was curator of the Yugoslav/Serbian pavilion at the Venice Biennial in 2003 and 2009. He holds an MA in History and Theory of Art from the University of Kent (England) and he is currently working on a PhD thesis on “Consumer Culture in Socialist Yugoslavia” at the University of Arts in Belgrade.

Abdellah Karroum (Rabat) works as an independent art researcher, publisher and curator. He is the founder and artistic director of several art projects: ‘L’appartement 22,’ an experimental space for encounters, exhibitions and artists’ residencies founded in 2002 in Rabat, Morocco; the ‘Le Bout Du Monde’ art expeditions undertaken since 2000; and the ‘éditions hors’champs’ art publications that have been published since 1999; Radioapartment22; and "Art, Technology and Ecology", an ongoing laboratory at ESAV-Marrakech (Film School). He has curated numerous exhibitions internationally, including at capcMusée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, DAK’ART Biennial for African Contemporary Art (2006), Gwangju Bienniale (2008), 3rd AiM International Biennale (2009), Palazzo Riso Museum (2010), and most recently in Amman at Darat al-Funun (2010). In 2007, Karroum served as a Member of the Golden Lion Jury in the Biennale of Venice. He is also a member of the Prince Pierre Monaco Foundation’s Artistic Council for its International Prize of Contemporary Art.

Vesna Kesić (Zagreb) is a journalist, activist, researcher and above all, the observant participant without specialization. As undergraduate in 60-ies, and student of psychology and sociology at Zagreb University in 70-ies, she witnessed many and participated in a few social and cultural initiatives and movements – from 68th student movement to the late 70-es “birth place of Yugoslav feminism(s)” - the first international feminist conference in Belgrade “Drug-ca žena”. In the 80-es, she was “the groupie” of NSK/Laibach/Sisters of Scipion Nasice art movement from Slovenia, actually one of the first Yugoslav journalists in mainstream media (“Start”) that promoted the phenomenon outside Slovenia. In the 90-es, Vesna deserted nationalistic media and joined civil society initiatives that promoted peace and opposed nationalistic interpretations of war and transition, by applying gender prospective and cross-borders exchange. In 2000, she graduated with the MA degree at the New School for Social research in Liberal Studies. Nowadays, as a freelance writer, activist and organizer, she mainly deals with memory.

Želimir Koščević (Zagreb) is an art historian, who was from mid 60ties to 1979 a head of the Gallery of Student Center in Zagreb, and from 1980 until 2004 senior curator and museum adviser at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. He is programmatic adviser of the Photo Gallery Lang in Zagreb. In 1993/94 he was advisor of Sao Paulo Biennale. He was president of Yugoslav national chapter of AICA 1989 -1991, president of ICOM Croatia 1996 - 2002 and member of ICOM/CIMAM Executive Board (1998-2004).
Member of AICA international, ICOM, CIMAM and IKT. He published nine books on contemporary art and more then 500 articles, essays and exhibition catalogues published in his homeland and abroad (Austria, Germany, Denmark, U.S. Hungary, Mexico, Czech Republic, Holland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Estonia, Sweden, Slovenia).

Omar Nagati (Cairo) is a practicing architect and urban planner and an independent researcher of critical urbanism. A graduate of Cairo University, he studied and taught at University of British Columbia and University of California Berkeley, with a specific focus on informal urbanism. Nagati adopts an interdisciplinary approach to questions of urban history and design, and offers a comparative analysis of urbanization processes in developing countries. He has been involved in several projects that investigate and question this approach in relation to the built environment including the revitalization of Hammams (public bathhouses) in six Mediterranean countries (2005-2006), strategic development approaches to informal housing areas in Cairo (2007), the redevelopment of waterfront in Cairo southern suburb of Maadi (2008), a range of residential development in Dubai (2007-08), and, most recently, a number of residential and mixed-use development in the new cities of 6 Oct and Sheikh Zayed to the west of Cairo. His current research focuses on Downtown Cairo, which is undergoing major redevelopment plans. Nagati teaches part-time Urban Studio at the Modern Sciences and Arts University in Cairo, including joint workshops with international universities and research institutions. Topics of the urban studio range from Edge City Development, Recycling Urbanism, the Redevelopment of City Center, Nile Islands, Informal Areas and Reclaiming Public Space. Nagati has widely presented his research on Cairo in several cities in Europe and North America, including Bari (2003), Vancouver (2004), Venice (2006), Vienna (2007), Copenhagen (2007), Cairo (2009), Berlin (2010) and Harvard (2010).

Matko Meštrović (Zagreb) graduated in History of Art and Culture from the Faculty of Philosophy, Zagreb University. From August 1969 to July 1970 as an IREX grantee was at the following universities in the United States: Columbia University, New York, UCLA, Los Angeles (Art Department and Journalism Department), MIT, Cambridge (Center for Advanced Visual Studies), Pennsylvania University, Philadelphia (The Annenberg School of Communication). Ph.D. thesis defended at alma mater in 1978. He is a former professor at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Zagreb, interdisciplinary oriented, he is today senior research fellow at the Zagreb Institute of Economics where he initiated the research project Cultural capital and development strategy of Croatia and more recently Historical Space, Social Time and Post-modern Capitalisation. He was director of the Institute for Culture of Croatia for five years (1987-1992). His interest in technology and information science goes back to activities in the Croatian Sociological Society and the International Association of Mass Communication Researchers (IAMCR) in the 70s. Being the consultant to general manager of Zagreb Radio and Television, he tried to introduce the most advanced professional and theoretical know-how concerning public information. The 60s were the period of his life completely devoted to the newly established Center for Industrial Design. Then, he was also very closed to ICSID (the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design). He already had gained the reputation among avangard artists and scientists as the organizer of the international New Tendencies movement. He was co-editor of the bilingual journal BIT-International (Zagreb, 1968/72) and a consulting and contributing editor of the Journal of Communication (Philadelphia, 1974/80). He has published several books, among them Design Theory and Environmental Problems (1980), The World, Consciousness and Dependence (1983), Commodity and Freedom (1995), Reality Time (2002), Dispersion of Meaning (2008).

Maroje Mrduljaš (Zagreb) is architecture and design critic, author of several books including Testing reality – Contemporary Croatian Architecture (with Vedran Mimica and Andrija Rusan) and Dizajn i nezavisna kultura (Design and independent culture, with Dea Vidović). He is editor of Oris magazine for architecture and culture. He published numerous texts in Croatia and abroad and curated several exhibitions. Focuses of his interests are contemporary architectural and design practices and history of modern architecture in the SE Europe. In 2009 he established a long-term collaborative research platform Unfinished modernisations (with Vladimir Kulić) which investigates architecture and urban phenomena in the region of former Yugoslavia from post-WWII period till today. Works at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb as a head of Research library.

Ozren Pupovac (Zagreb/Berlin) is a philosopher and social theorist.. He studied In Zagreb, Warsaw and London. He was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht and the Institute for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin. He published on Marxist philosophy and the (post)-Yugoslav political context, and translated works of Badiou, Rancière and Althusser into Serbo-Croatian. His work focuses on contemporary French thought, German idealism, Marxism and the question of the subject. Since 2008, he runs, together with Bruno Besana, the 'Versus Laboratory' research platform.

Georg Schöllhammer (Vienna) is an editor, author, curator and editor-in-chief of the magazine springerin - Hefte für Gegenwartskunst, Vienna, which he co-founded in 1995. From 2005 to 2007, he was editor-in-chief of documenta 12 magazines. From 1988 to 1994 he was visual arts editor for the newspaper Der Standard. In addition Schöllhammer is head of, together with Hedwig Saxenhuber artistic director of ViennaFair, he leads the research group Parallel Modernities - Architecture at the Margins of the Soviet Empire (Frankfurt/Berlin), is 
project director of Sweet 60s (a joint research initiative on Late Modernism and Neo-Avant Guardes in Central and West Asia, the Caucasus, the Middle East and North Africa), has co-founded the international research group Postwar Avant Gardes (Ljubljana, Barcelona, Vienna). Besides these initiatives he currently is preparing a Catalogue raisonnée and a retrospective of the Polish Artists KwieKulik (for the BWA Wroclaw and the Museum of Modern Art Warsawa). He collaborates with the research, publishing and exhibition project Former West (Utrecht, Eindhoven, Madrid and Warszawa) as a researcher. Schöllhammer is a member of the board of Kontakt The Art Collection of Erste Bank and of the Erste Foundation in Vienna, works in the artistic board of the festival Steirischer Herbst in Graz and as a corresponding member of the Vienna Secession. He has published widely on contemporary art, architecture, and theory - mainly around topics and on issues of urban and cultural transformation focusing on Central and Eastern Europe, Western and Central Asia and the Caucasus - he has given talks and lectures in major and minor arts institutions, academies, universities and self organized-spaces in the centres and peripheries in various art worlds.

WHW (Zagreb) is a curatorial collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb, Croatia. Its members are curators Ivet Ćurlin, Ana Dević, Nataša Ilić and Sabina Sabolović, and designer and publicist Dejan Kršić. WHW organizes a range of production, exhibition and publishing projects and from 2003 directs Gallery Nova in Zagreb. What, how and for whom, the three basic questions of every economic organization, concern the planning, concept and realization of exhibitions as well as the production and distribution of artworks and the artist's position in the labor market. These questions formed the title of WHW's first project dedicated to the 152th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto, in 2000 in Zagreb, and became the motto of WHW's work and the title of the collective.

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