Zipp – German-Czech Cultural Projects /


Life-worlds /

Utopia of Modernity: Zlín /

Kafka /

1968|1989 /

An initiative of the
Kulturstiftung des Bundes


1968/1989 – didn’t something important happen in both these years? Whoever considers one of these historical caesuras from the perspective of the other is confronted with two of the most fundamental social upheavals Europe experienced in the 20th century. This holds true for the then Czechoslovakia and today’s Czech Republic in particular.

Playing a numbers game, by simply tipping them over, 68 and 89 may be turned into one another – but not in history of course. The utopia of the Prague Spring diverges too greatly from the results of the Velvet Revolution. Has the call for freedom been answered by the laws of the free market in the end?

The years between 1968 and 1989 reveal just how much the Prague Spring spawned a strong underground movement which was not least shaped by influences from American pop culture – with crucial repercussions for the later fall of the Iron Curtain.

In this sense, the thematic focus illuminates two key historical caesuras from varying perspectives and shows with the project “68/89 - Art.Contemporary.History” how a historical context can be interconnected with artistic practice in the present: 1968/1989 – these dates are not to be thought of as isolated events; rather, the mirroring game between the dates first becomes interesting when the interplay between two is followed by a third element and 2008 is also considered. The years 2008 and 2009 are centenaries and thus generate enormous attention for ‘68 and ‘89. Moreover, the comparison between East and West is thoroughly irritating. As Rudi Dutschke was to find out in Prague: although the revolts took place simultaneously, they were based on fundamentally different ideological assumptions. What has become of them after the fall of the Iron Curtain, which dreams were realized and which betrayed, is perhaps discernible only today.

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