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Technology, Art and Modernity in Russia and Eastern Europe
New York, March/April 2000

Department of Slavic Languages at Columbia University announces a workshop


Deadline for proposals: October 25, 1999
Full text of presentation: January 23, 2000
Workshop: March 31-April 1, 2000

	Chagov came into the dormitory and sat down at the drafts of his
	beloved machine, at his great project which he was creating as if
	it were a poem. 

		Andrei Platonov, "In the Starry Desert."

This workshop will examine the following hypothesis: since the beginning
of the twentieth century technology has not only enabled the introduction
of new artistic techniques and modes of representation, but it has become
a metaphor and a model for modern artistic practice. To a generation of
modern artists technology suggested a new way of seeing and perceiving
culture. It offered a conceptual framework that set modernity apart from
the preceding era and, ostensibly, this framework has remained emblematic
of the modernist project within the arts ever since. 

We seek proposals which deal with any aspect of technology and
technological experience as it is manifested, throughout the twentieth
century, in the works of Russian and East European modernists. We are
particularly interested by investigations of the ways in which the
cultural meaning and uses of technology across the boundaries of Russian
and East European arts complicate established theories and histories of
modernism. Some areas we want to explore are: 

-the concept of technology in the Russian/Slavic intellectual tradition.
Did the Russian/Slavic intellectual tradition develop a specific and
distinct concept of technology and if not, why? 

-the relationship between technology, modern art and tradition/ national

-the relationship between technology, modern art and the state;

-the relationship between technology, modern art and war;

-the way technology is used to periodize the modern age (also, the modern/
post-modern divide); 

It is more than with academic interest that we wish to raise these
questions, to investigate and comment on the way technology, in its
various guises, influenced the ideas and the works of Russian and East
European modern and contemporary artists.  The goal of the workshop is not
to privilege a particular moment in history, but to establish continuities
which would contribute to an understanding of our present. 

As a special feature of the workshop we encourage submissions in all
media.  We also welcome paper proposals on the work of Andrei Platonov,
whose centenary is being celebrated this year. 

All papers should explicitly engage the questions of methodology. All
presentations will be followed by discussion. Some essays will be
published in a collection. Special consideration will be given to graduate
students. Please send, fax or e-mail all inquiries and a 200-300 words
description of your proposed papers or panels to : 

Nadia Michoustina
Department of Slavic Languages/Columbia University
Mail Code: 2139
NY, NY 10025
 fax. +1-212. 854. 5009.