Sylvia Sasse

Artist & Agents. Counter-Actions by Secret Services in the Soviet Union and GDR

5 April 2019 18:0019:30
ZHdK, Room 5.F01


The talk deals with disinformation against art. With the term “performative censorship”, I refer to those secret service activities which were unquestionably intended to impede artistic actions and works: disguised counter-actions of the secret service. This could have been something as minor as breaking a water pipe to prevent an exhibition, or as complex of a counter-action as the “Bulldozer Exhibition” in Moscow in 1974. In my talk, I will analyse actions of “performative censorship”, partially from the outside, as in the case of Russia, and partially from the inside, in cases where secret service actions can be examined in detail, as in the former East Germany. This will also involve formulating a theory that situates the actions of the secret services in the context of theatre and performance.

Sylvia Sasse
Professor for Slavic Literature at University of Zurich, member of the Competence Centre History of Knowledge (ZGW) at ETH and UZH and the Competence Centre for the Arts and Cultural Theory at UZH as well as member in the Academic Advisory Board of Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung (ZfL) in Berlin. She holds an ERC Grant for the project «Performance Art in Eastern Europe: Theorie and History (1960-1990)». In 2018 she won together with Inke Arns and Igor Chubarov an award for curators, the Justus Bier Prize for the exhibition „Sturm auf den Winterpalast. Forensik eines Bildes“ (Zurich, Dortmund, Lodz).