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The Wire Salon returns: Art and music in Eastern Europe in the 1960s and 70s

The Wire Salon returns after a two month break with an illustrated talk by historian David Crowley, exploring the politics of experimentation that reigned in the state funded radio and recording studios of Eastern Europe during the 1960s and 1970s. The talk, titled In The Experimental Zone: Art And Music In Eastern Europe In The 1960s And 70s, takes place at London's Cafe Oto, 11 July, 8pm, £4. Tickets are only available on the door on the night.

In the aftermath of Stalinism, composers and artists in Eastern Europe enjoyed new opportunities to experiment. Recording studios equipped with magnetic tape recorders and, later, synthesisers were established, first in Warsaw in 1957 and then throughout Eastern Europe. New forms of musique concrète and electronic music were produced in these laboratories of sound.

The connections between the visual arts and experimental music were closer in the 1960s than perhaps any time before or since. Sound and image combined in artists’ films, happenings and sound installations. While the innovative and ambitious nature of their creations is clear, what is far less certain is the benefits that experimental art and music brought to the communist project.

In this talk, David Crowley, one of the curators of Sounding The Body Electric: Experiments In Art And Music In Eastern Europe 1957-1984, an exhibition on display from 26 June at East London’s Calvert 22 gallery, will explore the politics of experimentation in Eastern Europe during the 1960s and 1970s. The talk will focus on the sound works of Krzysztof Wodiczko, Milan Knížák, Zygmunt Krauze, Dóra Maurer, Zoltán Jeney, the Bosch + Bosch Group and others, and will be illustrated with audio and film clips.

David Crowley runs the Critical Writing in Art & Design MA at the Royal College of Art. He has a long interest in the arts in Eastern Europe under communist rule.

Listen to a playlist of tracks ahead of the Salon here.