The Sound Exchange project began its search for the roots and current state of experimental music culture in Central and Eastern Europe in 2010, pursuing commonalities and singularities found within these regions and discussing their relationship with the international history of experimental music. Aiming at rendering local lines of development visible again and encouraging artists to reconnect to these traditions, Sound Exchange produced a series of festivals, exhibitions and workshops in Poland, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Germany, and the Czech Republic, in close collaboration with local initiatives in each country.
This panel looks back on Sound Exchange and other likeminded projects, and discusses the impact of decades-long political repression during the region’s socialist period and of the violent break with established practices following the fall of the iron curtain in 1989, when biographies got disrupted, networks and institutions broke down, and globally used digital practices inevitably became the focal point of an urgent desire to “catch-up”. An atmosphere of gradually increasing openness and international networking has progressively connected scenes and protagonists to their western colleagues ever since.
Did the region indeed “catch-up”? Or do there still exist substantial differences when compared to neighbouring Western countries? What role do local lines of tradition play today? And what might be the prospects and specific challenges for experimental music and intermedia practices in the region? This panel assembles a diverse cast of artists, researchers, curators, and project initiators, in order to look back upon their experiences in research and activism in an attempt to illuminate commonalities and contrasts, and suggest future paths for exploration.
Carsten Stabenow (1972) works as free curator, producer, communication designer, and artist at the intersection of artistic production and mediation.
Daniel Muzyczuk is a curator at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, and of numerous projects.
Carsten Seiffarth is the founder and artistic director of Berlin sound art gallery singuhr – hoergalerie and, together with Carsten Stabenow, is one of the main driving forces behind DOCK e.V.
Raul Keller is a sound, video, performance and installation artist, residing in Tallinn, and has been performing and exhibiting since 2000 in Estonia, the Netherlands, France, UK, Poland, the Baltic States, and Russia.
Golo Föllmer researches on audio practice and sound art, contemporary music, audio media, and the aesthetics of radio.
Susanne Binas-Preisendörfer is professor of music and the media at Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, where she pursues her research interests in the history and aesthetics of media-dominated musical forms, music, and globalization and youth cultures and popular music.