Dissident Cultural Movements in the Eastern Block

Project “EUnderground” wants to bring the history closer to young citizens with a very unique topic which has received less attention so far. The project reveals a hidden and less accessible cultural heritage of former socialist countries: the field of underground cultural movements in Eastern- and Central-Europe between 1948-89. The project’s scientific, cultural and non-formal educational activities about counterculture helps significantly the acquaintance of the era, which creates a better understanding the importance of free speech and civil dialogue in a democracy. We show different forms of cultural protesting against the repression of the freedom of thought and conscience through censorship, and accent the contrast between the dictatorship of the party state and the democratic system of the EU nowadays.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

Intercultural Student-Journal Workshops

We would like to organize creative workshops for European students (under 20) about the cultural censorship in the communist past. A guest speaker (historian) from a partner country will visit a school in another partner country and will deliver lectures about the life of artists under communism of his/her own country. With the help of the foreigner teachers the students will learn how the totalitarian propaganda was worked, and what happened if somebody had “different thinking” in the field of literature, painting, music or any other type of arts. At the end of the workshops the young participants from all countries have to make together a “samizdat” newspaper with old photos about a specific event from the past like rock concerts, underground cultural gatherings or alternative artworks. With this censorship-circumventing journal, they have to explain the truth against the totalitarian propaganda. We will translate the student articles to every partner’s language and publish it.

European Traveling Exhibition

It will be a traveling exhibition about the underground cultural movements in the Eastern Block countries. We would like to display the tragic fates of artists who were exiled from the “official” communist culture because of their political views, artistic styles or their subjects. We try to show a wide variety of culture and art forms. We will use the case-studies from the Knowledge-Center and we will introduce around 3 artists/groups per countries (18 together). We want to tell their stories mainly with innovative visual and iconographical elements. The location of the exhibitions will be held in unconventional places, like main walking streets, squares, shopping malls, or busy public places. With this method we can reach much more quantity of visitors and more diverse target groups. The national opening ceremonies will include performances and talks with the artists too.

Censorship Festival

It will be a one day long cross-national cultural festival to remembering the victims of the totalitarian censorship. With this festival we would like to commemorate to the oppressed artists and the cultural opposition movements from the Soviet Block. Our main aim with the festival is to get the attention of the young generations and with cultural examples from the past, explain the democratic EU values nowadays. The programme of the festival: art performances from underground and dissent artists from the former socialist countries, concerts, opening ceremony of the traveling exhibition, displaying the student samizdat-journals from the workshops, public readings, interactive debates with the witnesses, exhibitions, film projections, etc. Location: Budapest, Hungary.

Transnational Knowledge Center

We would like to develop a crowd-sourcing online community surface. Here will be loaded up all of the project related educational and scientific materials. At the beginning it will contain 30 case-studies with multimedia elements (interactive maps, images, films) about the life of oppressed artists or illicit groups. After the end of the project we would like to expand continually the center with new contents from other European countries.

Organizer: Laterna Magica (Hungary)
European partners:
SAN- Social Sciences University (Poland)
University of Bucharest (Romania)
Art Kontakt (Albania)
Educentrum (Czech Republic)
Institute for Studies of the Recent Past (Bulgaria)
Period: 2018-2019

Full data on implemented activities can viewed in the attached document.