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On the Threshold: Conformism, Dissent and (De)Synchronizations in Romanian Media Art in the 1960 and 1970s (2017-2018)

Author: AVRAM, Horea
Field of study: Media Studies, History and Theory of Art

My essay investigates the artistic practices made in Romania in the decades 1960- 1970 which employ media and technology as principal means of production and presentation, while offering an insight into the cultural, social and political determinants underlying their production. By Media art I understand art forms produced by electronic means and which are mainly time-based: video, experimental film, sound, computer-based images, presented as single channel works or as installations. The focus of my study is equally on the means of expression (the (un)problematization of the medium, themes, narrative strategies, technologies, apparatus) and on the conditions of manifestation of these artistic productions (the cultural and political framework of the period in Romania and
Eastern Europe, issues related to cultural and technological (de)synchronization, institutional and public reception, critical positioning and subversion, humor and irony as survival strategies, processes of signification and the regimes of
memory associated with media art practices). Three representative artists and groups of the period will be discussed – kinema ikon, Sigma, and Ion Grigorescu. They are different in terms of approach, strategy and artistic values, but their common ground is equally represented by their significant interest in the moving image, and by their constant efforts to innovate the artistic language and the
relationship with the context.

Keywords: media arts, Eastern Europe, Neo-Avant-garde, cultural synchronization, political context

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