The SocialEast Seminars: Forum on the Art and Visual Culture of Eastern Europe

 Image courtesy of the author.

The SocialEast research forum considers the art and visual culture of Eastern Europe from the end of the Second World War to the fall of the Berlin Wall, through collaborative projects, exhibitions and seminars. Consisting of a series of conferences, the forum involves leading scholars from across Europe and the US, curators, artists and other professionals who deal in their work with issues of art and memory. SocialEast’s objective is to encourage comparative research into the art history of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, as well as wider issues in socialist visual culture.

A series of international seminars held during 2006-7 address the following issues: Art and Ideology; Art and Documentary;
Art and Revolution, and Art and Memory. The seminars are accompanied by contemporary art events, including exhibitions, artists’ presentations and film screenings. For more details see Below, we publish the proceedings of the second seminar (“Art and Documentary”), held at the Ludwig Museum Budapest on February 10, 2007.The final seminar in this series will be the SocialEast Seminar on Art and Memory at the Mimera Museum in Zagreb on 21 April 2007.

The “Art and Documentary” seminar coincided with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution in Budapest, and covered issues such as the role of contemporary art in commemorating historical events from the socialist period; revolutions and counter-revolutions; the history and treatment of public monuments in Eastern Europe; relics of Socialism in contemporary visual culture, and the use of photographic and film archives in visual research. The seminar was accompanied by a film screening on ‘Socialist Memory: Documentary Approaches in Contemporary Art’, programmed by Maja and Reuben Fowkes.