[artinfo] Reclaim Happiness Symposium: Opposing Systems

Maja & Reuben Fowkes fowkes at translocal.org
Mon May 16 09:01:50 CEST 2011

Tranzitdisplay Prague
Tuesday 24 May, 1-5pm

This symposium considers East European socialism and post-communist 
capitalism as opposing systems and explores the tactics devised by 
artists, dissidents and social activists to circumvent, escape or resist 
them. Issues to be discussed include the question of how connected the 
artistic avant-garde and political dissidence were under socialism, 
especially in the wake of the protest movements of 1968. More generally, 
how capitalistic in practice was the system disparagingly labelled 
‘really existing socialism’ by leftist dissidents, especially in terms 
of economic and working practices? In terms of opposition to the system, 
the symposium will discuss the inventive methods of everyday resistance 
against both totalitarianism in politics and society and exploitative 
conditions in the workplace. Why does the hidden history of opposition 
to the socialist system continue to fascinate and how have contemporary 
artists tried to salvage the submerged experience of resistance? Is 
there perhaps an untapped reserve of oppositional energy in Eastern 
Europe, and if so, can it be turned back on?

1.00 Maja and Reuben Fowkes (translocal.org), ‘New Left East, Socialism 
as (if) it really existed’
1.25 Tamás St.Auby (artist, Budapest) and Miklós Haraszti (writer) 
discuss art, dissidence, poetry, work and leisure under socialism
1.55 Fedor Blaščák (philosopher, Bratislava) ‘If the enemy is a clear 
cut, a stroke can be strong’
2.20 Adam Chodzko (artist, UK) introduction to The Pickers
2.45 Coffee break
3.15 Franco Bifo Berardi (philosopher)
3.45 Jiří Skála (artist, Prague) presentation of project One Family of 
Objects (2011)
4.10 Roundtable discussion with Loophole to Happiness artists Katarina 
Šević, Péter Szabó, Csaba Nemes and Siniša Labrović.
4.45 Screening of Tamás St.Auby’s film Centaur (1973-5)
5.30 End

Participants are invited to attend the opening of the exhibition 
Loophole to Happiness, curated by Maja and Reuben Fowkes 
(translocal.org), at Futura Centre for Contemporary Art at 6pm.

For more information see:

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