Starting points

We will look on the latest phenomena of last decades through examples of key projects of the experimental art coming onto scene (or scenes) from various backgrounds with various motivations. We do not want to slip to simplifying romanticization a schematization at description of non-profit and not being established sector. We realize that often hybrid situation rules in context of Slovakia and artistic and cultural production many partakers are moving in more functions, working positions and classifications. It is hard to evaluate whether this duality alternatively multifunctionality is a burden or, on contrary, it causes especially in Western Europe unusual synergies. Overlaps of stone organizations with so-called non-profit and not being established sector are current practice. Text of Miroslava Sikorová is dedicated to the history and present day of intermedia art and of art of new media from positions of visual art

Therefore focal point of this text will be proceeded mainly outside established scene of visual art; we will use the expression “experiment” as a key word. This chapter has ambition to describe the latest creation in Slovakia and to dedicate itself to the artists and initiatives creating on the borderland of music, performative and visual art, literature and new media. The heading is working also with more widely defined roof expression of the culture because we suppose that the below described initiatives, personalities and projects are often deviating from frontiers and definitions of art and they form also life style, value system, social code. 

We start the talking by presentation of places of culture we move up from Bratislava on the whole Slovakia. On these places the artists, dramaturges, groupings and initiatives live and create; here the festivals and actions or inspirative meetings of other kind take place. A widely selected scope is in (right) place because like female art theoretician Mária Rišková writes in her text Agony and ecstasy of art of new media: “However, history and theory of media art whether foreign or Slovak ones select from new media only a part of problems, many social, subcultural or popular phenomena remain behind its gates, outside competence of art historians. If we are interested in new media and we will look on the object of media art closely, we cannot be satisfied because it cannot replace plurality for which it was possible that it takes patronage over the expression of new media…” The scope is wide, however, not complete. We will try to present a selection of projects with regard to social relevance and as wide as possible to cover up the particular time and geographic areas.

The experimental art tries to go beyond borders and to discover new worlds. Informal communities which are associated in “their places” are unambiguously a spawn for its rise and creation. In 2016 the publication  BA!! places of live culture 1989 – 2016 arose which started to map just these processes and fates of communities in Slovakia. They concern places which arose spontaneously and thanks to resolution of people to bring a little creative energy, human also poetical dimension or generation spirit into their surroundings. Of course, social processes did not begin from vacuum but they tied onto events before fall of Iron Curtain. However, we will begin our experimental talking mainly by practical reasons just here and we will pop out from “Bratislava café” subsequently further across the whole Slovakia.

After 1989 plenty of various spaces originally owned by the state and marked with time started successively to emerge. They ceased to serve for their purpose because the institutions residing in them ceased to exist or they found the strength to other life somewhere else. Usable facilities, which it was possible to utilize, remained often in abandoned premises. For example the Film Club 901 arose thanks to complete technical equipment of former congress hall with projectors in Bratislava. After 1989 the conditions for artistic creation were decidedly changed although the art, artists and spaces did not have necessarily to pass through dramatic historic jump.

After 1989 musical, dancing, filmic and literary clubs, theatres, multicultural centres, book clubs, galleries or open ateliers arose also today particularly from initiative of young people, students or recently educated graduates of universities/colleges, of creative designers from visual art, designer´s or other artistic environment. Often they have been connected by common study or creative way and they wanted to continue further in it or they want simply to have a style space for all their mates. They remained in places of their study or they returned home. Some of them were opened to the public more other less always according to that to what they dedicate themselves and at what level they offered the art production.

Regular festivals also further actions form an important structure beside these places. They get used to have various continuity and they are distinguished by long-term scope and often by very important international contracts, interconnections and influences. The cultural memory of long-live festival is comparable with a job of institution. We get used to call the festival like a concentrated show of curator´s content which reaches for that latest from such-and-such theme or genre for most part. The expression comes from Latin the word “festivalis“ described  religious holiday; the “festus“ means “ceremonial“. The long-term consistent labour of many organizers, dramaturges and curators/custodians deserve this mention and glorification!