Sep 27–28, 2007


Networks between West and East

In English

This conference is devoted to Fluxus, the network that in the 1960s linked artists around the globe, especially from Asia, North America and both Western and Eastern Europe. The first of its dual focuses will be presentations and performances by Fluxus artists and artists from Eastern Europe who, from the 1960s onwards, were active in cooperative projects across not just national borders but also the boundaries of political systems. The other focus will be lectures by international art scholars. The conference will also show the inspirational influence Fluxus still has on young artists today.

Fluxus has a special relationship with New York. In 1961 the Chambers Street loft of Japanese artist Yoko Ono and the AG Gallery of the Lithuanian-born George (Jurgis) Maciunas became the nucleus of what would soon become an international artist network. The action musicians, artists and anti-artists who presented their events, performances, compositions and ideas here would – beginning in 1962 with their concert series "International Festival of Very New Music" at the Wiesbaden Museum – gain fame under the name FLUXUS. New York remained an important nodal point in this network. Maciunas established the Flux Shop here, and the city was the base for the distribution of many ideas, events, objects and musical scores. Not least, Maciunas laid the foundation stone for Soho as an artists' and gallery district when his Fluxhouse Cooperative bought a number of buildings in order to provide living and work space to artists, filmmakers and dancers.

The nature of Fluxus' work – events (brief instructions), small editions, musical scores, journals – made it possible to disseminate ideas and works by post. Thus the group was able to penetrate the Iron Curtain and extend the global Fluxus network to include Central and Eastern Europe. Early connections made in the area of New Music led to later Fluxus concerts in Vilnius (1966), Prague (1966), Budapest (1969) and Poznan (1977).

With: Alison Knowles, Geoffrey Hendricks, Tamás St. Auby, Vytautas Landsbergis, Thomas Kellein, Eric Andersen and many others.

Concept: Petra Stegmann

The conference is a joint event of Künstlerhaus Bethanien and the House of World Cultures. It is being held within the framework both of the exhibition FLUXUS EAST. FLUXUS NETWORKS IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE, running from 27th September until 4th November 2007 at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, and of the New York programme of the House of World Cultures. Further partners of the conference are Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, the Polish Institute in Berlin, the Embassy of Lithuania and Art Forum Berlin.