Abstract - Lioudmila Voropai

(full paper) http://hdl.handle.net/10002/449

Institutionalisation of Media Art in the Post-Soviet Space:
The Role of Cultural Policy and Socioeconomic Factors

The proposed paper reviews the process of institutionalisation of Media Art in Post-Soviet countries (primarily Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) in a period from the middle 80s to thepresent. It is focused on forms and principles of the institutional organization of Media Art and its influence on aesthetics and content of produced media art works.The paper also analyses related issues of cultural policy in the field of Media Art, and particularly the questions: what are the guidelines for the cultural policy in the field ofMedia Art in Post-Soviet situation; and how do they determine the development of Media Art in these countries? Here not only state cultural policy is examined, but also privateand corporative mechanisms of art support in the form of foundation programs, sponsorship and patronage. Media Art in Eastern Europe and in Post-Soviet republics in particular has been developedat a time when the previous state art system was ceasing to function, so that in the vacuum of cultural policy new forms of organisation and financing of art emerged, whichoften did not have equivalences in the Western institutional field. These forms at that time have in many respects enabled a noticeable aesthetical and conceptual radicalism inEast-European Media Art. Today the institutional media art field in Eastern Europe is mainly organised in the formof ‘multitasking’ institutions, generally defined as „Media Art Labs“ or „Media Art Institutes“. These “Labs“ and „ Institutes“ initially emerged in the context of SorosCentres (Open Society Fund / Soros Center for Contemporary Art). Although the role of the Soros Centres in the post-socialist cultural process is extremely disputed today, thedevelopment of institutional infrastructure for contemporary art is to a large extent related to the activity of these Centres.Some products of their later institutional transmutation, such as «MediaArtLab» („Informational and Research Centre for Media Art and Culture“) in Moscow and The PROARTE Institute in St. Peterburg as well as the spin-offs of the former Soros Centres in Kiev (Ukraine) and Minsk (Berarus) have become a subject of concern in this paper.At the same time the paper represents some alternative forms of artistic selforganisation in Post Soviet countries. For instance, a notorious self-declared NewAcademy of Fine Arts founded by famous Russian artist Timur Novikov in St. Petersburg.