26 / 06 / - 29 / 06 2001
Talks / Workshop

A three-day event with talks and screenings

The Electronic Baroque Out of the Termite Stricken Collapse of the Cold War
Norman Klein (USA)

Serbia and the Social Space in the Nineties
Zoran Eric (YU)

The Belgrade Allegorical Puzzle
Stevan Vukovic (YU)

Screening the work of Peter Weiss
Early avant garde works 1952 - 57
Marat/Sade (1967) D. Peter Brook


The two sets of talks and one film screening join issues ranging from technologies of power, urban structures as projection sites for social imaginaries, the production of fiction. These are all specifically situated within perspectives on the role of art and society and considered in regards to the ongoing structuring nature of unfinished historical dialogues within post-revolutionary societies.

"Halluzinationer" as a series of evening events emphasises the role of an artist's space programming to cultivate a unique environment for the interested and engaged community of interests, that today means both narrow definitions of "local" to the networks of information flows and exchange that defy traditional definitions of boundaries, borders and constituencies or publics. For example, the haus.0 program website, with its combination of essays, links and program information, today has an average 35,000 monthly global hits, the number equal to a larger university department. The selection of talks and presentations is intended to accent a particular quality to the informal discussion that continues in haus.0 as a programming structure, a narrative. The event can be seen to draw on a system of lines of orientation, connecting the program from its initial two years, starting after renovation with the new website and "Open Haus" in May 1999 and directing towards the future programming structure. Thus as well in attendance for these lecture and discussion events and in a parallel working group, are earlier haus.0 contributors, including Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, Rainer Kirberg, Constanze Ruhm, as well as Norman Klein.

Norman Klein
"The Electronic Baroque Out of the Termite Stricken Collapse of the Cold War"

Norman Klein will link back to issues that were first adressed in his haus.0 production Scripted Spaces from 1999. Returning to the haus.0 fourth floor which still shows residues of the earlier project, Klein gives a survey of recent writings focusing on the term of Electronic Baroque. His presentation will address the concept of social and historical imaginaries through laying out an analysis of the baroque grammar of special effects, the notion of perspective awry that at a certain moment in history reflects the political arrangement of feudalism joining hands with the merchant classes. Moving towards the issue of urban and civic space and civic alliances ranging from the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851 to survival TV series, multiple user sex links, myths of Freudian repression and revolutionary democracy, Norman Klein analyzes issues of power relations as these become visible through history and via contemporary real and virtual architectures.

As of today, in the era of the Electronic Baroque, the culture of spectacle and the alliance of global capitalism with entertainment and media industries has replaced the tropes of democracy. These neobaroque systems of special effects techniques disguise the reality of contemporary society and hide the failures of a democracy that neither opposes nor controls neo liberalism and the play of forces on the free market of globalisation.

Zoran Eric
"Serbian Social Space in the Nineties"

Stevan Vukovic
"The Belgrade Allegorical Puzzle"

Two divergent positions from Belgrade which are rooted in theory as well as in art practice investigate the concepts of civic and urban spaces which in particular reflect traces of political change within a society in upheaval.

In this relation, art is understood as a critical reflection tool through which the spatial narratives which are inscribed into public and civic spheres can be uncovered. By using a theoretical method of investigation, a "spatioanalysis", Zoran Eric explores the meeting points of urban geography within the framework of a spatial-cultural discourse linked to theories of radical democracy. Spatioanalysis is defined as the analysis of libidinal circuits of the bourgeois society that is based on the concept of a public sphere as opposed to the private with the aim to protect the rights of private property and legitimate state control of urban spaces.

According to the theorist Craig Owens, "the public (...) is a discursive formation susceptible to appropriation by the most diverse - indeed, opposed - ideological interests." Others, such as claim that unitary public space is just a "phantom" and thus was never fully inclusive.

The very notion of an undivided social space is irremediably deceptive,constituted by disavowing plurality and conflict. The production of social space in Serbia of the 90's is certainly a product of the specific sociopolitical frame and context of the former FR Yugoslavia. The strongest wave of ethnonationalism that was incidentally conceived and conceptualized in the most influential scientific and cultural institution (the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences by its Memorandum on Actual Social Questions) triggered the political processes that lead to a disintegration of the Federal state, thus effecting a disintegration of public spheres and civic space. The consequent events like war, first in Croatia and then in Bosnia, sanctions by UN and the "economy of destruction", economic collapse with the highest rate of inflation ever recorded, resulted in the complete isolation of the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and breakdown of official communication with the rest of the world.

In relation to this history and the emerging concepts of public and civic spaces, Stevan Vukovic will analyze the nature of some idiomatic features of the Belgrade city experience. As he writes, "An attempt to present the locally specific in a particular instance of time, by using as method a simple compression of heterogenous images, sounds and textual extracts. As if watching forty local television channels at once, basically, a set of trivia. Art included in it. Rejecting the distinction between discoursive and non-discoursive practices." The presentation of Stevan Vukovic contains a vast number of still images ranging from maps, plans, artisan drawings of the city, through documentary shots of the space and the buildings or events which appear upon them, to advertisments and other media images, film stills, cartoons, paintings and other works of art.

Peter Weiss
Film presentation Peter Weiss (S) (1916-82)
Early avant garde works 1952 - 57
Marat/Sade (1967) A: Peter Weiss, D: Peter Brook

The film presentation reflects on a ten year range in the work of the artist, writer and director Peter Weiss. Becoming a Jewish refugee during World War II, Weiss relocated to Sweden where he lived and worked until his death in 1982 (the year he received the Georg Büchner prize).The selection of films shows a range from Weiss’s mid 50s conventions belonging to postwar avantgarde film production, to the radical political imaginary which renders itself in the new form of the German Dokumentar-Theater, in one of the core dramatic works of the twentieth century, "The Persecution and Assassination fo Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of Monsieur de Sade".

In his early avant garde films between 1952 - 1955, Weiss deals with the transformation of different methods of artistic production, moving from drawings to film. His "Studie II" ("Hallucinationer") is based on a series of twelve associative drawings. In his own words, the "order of the original drawings was kept to provide an inner continuity to the filmic experience. All ongoing events are completely based on an emotional level." He compared the experimental techniques he employed to "hallucinatory experiences". Weiss was also exploring the possibilites of new acoustic methods by creating a soundtrack along with the films which he described as "the films being accompanied by screeching, crackling, scratching hallucinatory noises."

In 1967 Peter Brook directed a film adaption of his Royal Shakespeare Company Stage version of "Marat/Sade..." which added a new dimension to the already multi layered mise-en-scene of author Peter Weiss. While the play deals with the antagonistic motives of radical individualism as opposed to social utopia, it investigates through that model the nature of societies undergoing violent radical transformation and revolutions. Thus, it also asks for the role of institutions within this scheme, and the idea of the civic subject within a society undergoing change in values. Through the structure of theater Weiss opens up a dialog system that combines actual and fictional materials in principle to avoid the regime of resolution and closure as a bourgeois catharasis mode. In Marat/Sade Weiss worked to render visible and explore the nature of unfinished dialogs that always return to operate in the exchange systems under Capitalism within Neo-Feudalist society.