Working Group 1: Culture Under Surveillance

Working Group Chairs: Muriel Blaive and James Kapalo

This Working Group will analyze dissent as it was influenced in a direct and top-down manner by institutions wielding the power of surveillance in the realm of culture, i.e. of documenting, classifying, analyzing, reporting and intervening in what was deemed to be subversive. We will examine the effects of the exposure of culture to political surveillance, i.e. the impact of censors, the security apparatus and the professional organizations in the former socialist countries on the life trajectories of cultural creators, cultural events and objects.

At the same time and in the same scope, we are interested in the strategies of counter-surveillance performed by Western state institutions and transnational centers of cultural transmission such as Radio Free Europe. In particular, we will examine how such transnational rivalry opened spaces for cultural alternatives.

children in toy police car talk to policeman

Children’s Transportation Park, Budapest XIII. district, 1964

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