Bericht von der Summer School „Modernity, Socialism, and the Visual Arts“

Socialism, Modernity and the Visual Arts, this year’s summer school of the art archive at Beeskow was unusual for a variety of reasons. Aside from the fact that October in eastern Germany can hardly be described as summer, the conference took place over five days on a river-cruiser that made its way slowly from Berlin, through the former GDR, to the Polish border and back. The main aim of the conference was to explore the visual and material cultures of state socialism through the lens of modernity and associated analytical concepts. Holding a conference on board a small ship containing 24 academics and artists certainly constituted a psychological experiment. Those attending did not know how they would react to inhabiting such a small space so full of ideas: were we sentencing ourselves to five days on-board a floating prison?

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