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Mind the Map
A project by the Institute of Theater Studies of the University of Leipzig, initiated by "East Art Map" (IRWIN), Slovenia, and "relations."
Under the leadership of Marina Gržinić (Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna), Günther Heeg and Veronika Darian (Institute of Theater Studies, University of Leipzig) and moderated by "relations," an international group of academics and young theoreticians from eastern and western Europe are exchanging ideas and concepts for an "East Art Map," an art map of eastern Europe originally stemming from the Slovenian artist collective IRWIN.

Mind the MapMind the MapMind the Map
The "East Art Map" University Network is aimed to build a platform for the discussion of art and culture productions that converge around the axis of Eastern and Western art realities in Europe. Our point of departure is the "East Art Map" project by the Slovenian Fine Arts group IRWIN. It tracks back in history (from around the 1920s to nowadays) the art works and processes in the territory known as the former Eastern Europe. The result is a map of hundreds of art works and artistic connections in time and space.
IRWIN's impulse has been taken up by "relations", an association initiated by the German ederal Cultural Foundation. In a second phase, eight university partners from different cities in Europe joined the project. They will collaborate on the topic within three different erspectives:
  • an art historian perspective,
  • a cultural/social studies perspective, broadening the discourse via a more general cultural,
  • political, social and media background,
  • and a performative perspective, including dramaturgy, performance and cultural nterventions.

Cultural Practice at Intersections - Modes of Access

The bold enterprise of a (re)construction of the East and Central European art history won't be undertaken in the closed range of one discipline or in a field of research limited by national affiliation. It is rather situatedat several intersections and therefore requires the crossing of borders in a productive way. In particular, this applies to:
  • the intermediality between different art forms,
  • the fracture zones between the national cultures of Eastern and Western Europe,
  • the fissures between past and present,
  • the interferences between humanities, arts and social movements.
The transnational and intercultural perspective on the arts and the refraction of reciprocal perspectives in East and West as well as the cooperation of artistic, academic and social institutions in their preoccupation with cultural practices is a model for the future to us. It can counteract the blinkered vision of single disciplines and can free them from the academic ivory tower; it can stimulate the interchange between art and humanities and it can encourage to take up extra-academic movements and perspectives and bring them back into social discussions in an academically and artistically reflected way.
The project connects different levels of practic al, theoretical and communication work. Its concept is to set up an exchange pool of different art practices, to help in producing concrete research projects and reflections, to give visibility to young researchers and academics and to build a wider critic al mass of academic as well as public audiences for the future.

(Re)constructions of (art) history

The "East Art Map University Network" is planned to be more than just a contribution to the IRWIN's "East Art Map": it is the starting point of a new exchange. The reconstruction of the art history of the East of Europe asks for special tasks from historiography. In our opinion, the writing of history should not reconstruct a museum of Eastern Art, but develop an open social and art structure of exchange and interpretation platforms of history in the sense of Homi K. Bhabha's "re-vision of the present " or better to say in a way of a reconstruction of an art history as a social and cultural dispositive of relevant projects for the present and future of contemporary art. Therefore we propose and engage in a construction of a matrix, which laid down a dense structure of information on specific and sometimes not well-known artistic and cultural processes, products and realities. We have a proof of the materiality of art projects and structures in the space of the former Eastern Europe that now asks for the establishing of new conditions for understanding and constructing art history, cultural practices and theoretical models.
Prof. Dr. Marina Gržinić, Prof. Dr. Günther Heeg and Dr. Veronika Darian