Open Call for Participation and Papers in an International Conference: Socialist Art between Disdain, Fetishism and Transition. Tirana Art Lab, Tirana, Albania, April 29/30 2016.

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As part of the Heroes We Love project, Tirana Art Lab will host an event which will include a conference dedicated to the legacy and perception of the art of the socialist period in the contemporary artists and societies of the former Eastern bloc.

In this event, like in others, Tirana Art Lab remains loyal to its philosophy of promoting artists and researchers of the contemporary art of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, focusing on the process and research that throbs behind artistic concepts, which embody the crucial movement against contemporary neoliberal reality.

We invite conference speakers able to illustrate the complexity of the “former bloc” contexts after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the perception that these contexts have regarding the art of the socialist past and its linguistic plurality. Through the interventions in this Tirana Art Lab event we will try to shun the homogeneity which usually characterizes the art of the socialist period and clarifies the construction of contemporary narratives about it.

In conceiving the Tirana Art Lab event, the construction of contemporary narratives on the art of the socialist past constitutes a singularly unique node because these narratives are often materialized by foreign factors and actors, beyond the world of art or even the “former bloc” contexts. It is for this reason that the speakers selected here will be ones whose practice is based on a former, current, direct and intimate bond to the context in question and a long experience which eliminates the risk of exotic and alienating readings and interpretations.

The interventions in the “Heroes We Love” event in Tirana will raise questions and explore possible answers, though by no means conclusive. Firstly, questions which examine the cultivation of dreams and nightmares in the “former bloc” contexts, and the cultivation of a complete and ideal world, as well along with its heterotopic and heterochronic gaps. Similarly, questions and exploration which widen in scope to include not only the perspective of yesterday, but the one of today and tomorrow, enabling the extraction of several axioms for the interpretation of the former bloc realities. Lastly, through these axioms, we will attempt to decipher the erotic formula of the “heroes” with whom “we” consistently fall in “love”, repeating the sacred and heroic cycle of the sacrifice of the daily for the sake of the future.

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