The collaborative archiving project 'Transitland'
, realized on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, launches with a comprehensive website and a series of discussions and screenings in Sofia, followed by events in Budapest and Berlin. It presents a selection of 100 single-channel video works, produced in the period 1989-2009 and reflecting the transformations in post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe. The selection of works was made by an international jury from 350 videos, proposed by 40 nominators - curators, art critics and artists.
The project focuses on an extensive and turbulent time and space span. The territory of 'Transitland' is quite close to being a half of Europe - population and territory wise. Once called as the 'Eastern bloc' without further specification, it was conceived as somewhat homogeneous, dark side of Europe behind the Iron Curtain. Central and Eastern Europe with different sub-regions now covers 24 post-socialist European countries. Twenty years ago this territory belonged to only 9 states.
'Transitland' is not only the widest-spanning presentation of video art from Central and Eastern Europe but also a unique attempt to address and reflect upon an extensive period of transformation and changes. The mere breadth of time and geography and the complexity of the transition process are still beyond perception not only from outside but also within the region. Besides the numerous discursive and documentary attempts to describe, analyze and contextualize the transformations, a multitude of viewpoints and aspects, presented through the media of video art are meant to provide a unique asset of aesthetic and critical positions to the current discourse on the transition period.
The Sofia launch event features discussion panels and a series of screenings. The first discussion panel addresses the question of expectations right after the Fall of the Wall, the second one traces what actually was happening in those 20 years and the third leads to the ultimate question where we are heading now. The discussions gather artists and curators with personal curiosity, first-hand experience and intellectual engagement with the transition period in Central and Eastern Europe. A series of screenings and discursive events will be taking place in Budapest organized by the Agency for Contemporary Art Exchange and the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art in the following months. In Berlin the project will be premiered by transmediale festival for digital arts and culture from 6th to 8th November at Collegium Hungaricum Berlin. Further presentations of the archive are being planned for 2010.