Revealing Independent Media from Behind the Iron Curtain
Speaker: Allie Whelan
Artists, activists, and archivists embrace do-it-yourself strategies at times of political and social unrest for free expression, communication, and survival of marginalized voices. Between 1950 and 1990, political suppression paradoxically sparked creative action across the underground arts scene of Eastern Europe from secret concerts, actions, and happenings to self-published zines and media. This presentation explores salvaged collections hidden behind the Iron Curtain, how artists became accidental archivists, and where collections once concealed in basements or confiscated by secret police have ended up today and how they are being preserved. Case studies describe the methodologies of archives throughout Europe where independent and community archiving actions are taking place despite limited environments to safeguard these collections, and how prominent figures from the underground scene are active in archiving. This presentation stems from on-site research for my 2015 MIAP thesis “I Will Counterrevolution / I Will Stop All The Motion: Archiving Exile, Samizdat, and Underground Audio from the Eastern Bloc”.
November 19, 2017