Art historian and curator David Crowley in Riga
In his talk David Crowley will speak about exhibition „Sounding the Body Electric: Experiments in Art and Music in Eastern Europe 1957–1984”, which he curated together with Daniel Muzyczuk at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź in 2012.
He will reflect on the politics of experimentation in Eastern Europe during the 1960s and 1970s as well as the challenges of recreating ephemeral and site-specific art works like performances, installations and happenings.
Ultrasounds: Experiments in Music and Art in Eastern Europe in the 1960s and 1970s
In the aftermath of Stalinism, composers and artists in Eastern Europe enjoyed new opportunities to experiment. Recording studios equipped with magnetic tape recorders and, later, synthesisers were established, first in Warsaw in 1957 and then throughout Eastern Europe. New and often challenging forms of musique concrète and electronic music were produced in these laboratories of sound. The connections between the visual arts and experimental music were closer in the 1960s than perhaps any time before or since. Sound and image combined in artists’ films, ‘happenings’ and sounding installations.
At the same time, experimental forms of notation were also created to stimulate or record graphically uninhibited musical expression.
In 2012 works by artists and composers from across the Bloc – including Krzysztof Wodiczko, Milan Knížák, Dóra Maurer, Zoltán Jeney, the Bosch + Bosch group, Komar and Melamid, and Collective Actions – we re exhibited in an exhibition entitled ‘Sounding the Body Electric: Experiments in Art and Music in Eastern Europe 1957-1984’, at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź in 2012.
David Crowley runs the Critical Writing in Art & Design MA at the Royal College of Art. He has published a number of books, including „Style and Socialism and Socialist Spaces” (with Susan Reid, 2002), „Pleasures in Socialism: Leisure and Luxury in the Eastern Bloc” (with Susan E. Reid, 2010), writes regularly for the design press and curates exhibitions (Cold War Modern at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2008–9, The Power of Fantasy: Modern and Contemporary Art from Poland, BOZAR, Brussels in 2011). He has a specialist interest in the art and design histories of Eastern Europe under communist rule.