Photo series of spontaneous actions at the chapel: Once we went, May, 1972 (Photo: Dóra Maurer, participants: Miklós Erdély, György Jovánovics, Tamás Szentjóby, Tibor Gáyor)“There was a grid put across the chapel door, originally from a fence, but applied horizontally and not vertically. Jován stood on it, and the others automatically began to find their places, too. Szentjóby lay down on a branch and stuffed his long hair into his shirt, so his hair was not floating like Jován’s in the photo. Erdély placed himself in the door, bent over, as if he had been glancing out from there, while Tibor lay on the ground, as if that had been another direction, too, and only the smoke of his cigarette revealed which direction was up. Erdély held up a poppy and said that if we photographed it, it might look as if it were the chapel bell. Then they were jumping down from a bench, Erdély, Tibor, and I think Jován, too, as if they were jumping on top of the Badacsony, i.e. as if they had been touching the mountain with the shape of their bodies.” (Dóra Maurer, 1998)
As part of Infermental 6, Antonio Muntadas and Hank Bull initiated the Cross-Cultural Television project. In this framework they asked artists from around the world to record materials from local television programs and submit them for compilation with other project materials.
Miklós Peternák, together with László Beke and Gyula Száva, decided to make a Hungarian submission. On 22 November 1986, they used a Betamax recorder (a format since obsolete), provided by Gyula Száva, to record their contribution.
They sat in front of the television all day, waiting for some part of the programing that they liked, and then recorded it. A little more than three hours fit on the Betamax tape. However, it turned out that they had missed the deadline for posting contributions to Vancouver.
Miklós Peternák did not want to waste the work they had invested in the recording, so with the help of a friend in a video studio he edited a shorter, “watchable” version of the tape: they ran the material through a mixer in real time while adding special effects.
The resulting material reflects not only the Hungarian television programming of the time, but also the contemporary technical circumstances characterizing television receivers and video technology. The record—which contains black and white fragments of the program, often ghostly, poppy images, and sometimes even stripes (the image “runs”)—treats these mistakes as esthetical features.
Years later, this idea led to a project called Medium analysis (Watching Television), at the Intermedia department of the Hungarian Academy of Arts. Initially, it was held every other year, then stopped, but rather recently students themselves restarted the series. Today it is a festival-like event throughout the building, with several parallel programs.There was an intention to organize these events on the original date of the Medium analysis. It later turned out that this date, 22 November is also important in terms of media history, because it was the first time that broadcast television was interrupted, in this case, in order to announce the death of John F. Kennedy (“the birth of breaking news” as Stephen Kovats called it at an analysis session).
This event was followed by strong media repression. Authorities in the cultural sphere who were party functionaries were ordered to criticize the artists in the sharpest possible manner. In Pantelić’s opinion, some of the artists of the time even repressed their memories of these events to such a degree that they do not even remember being a part of avantgarde groups.
- Novi Sad, Serbia
Year of creation:
- Featured item of:
The open letter which engineer Gheorghe David sent to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985, immediately after his appointment as secretary general of Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) is included in his KGB file, which is currently held in the Archive of the Intelligence and Security Service of the Republic of Moldova. However, this file represents yet another archival source that is currently unavailable. Due to the short period of opening during the functioning of the Commission for the Study and Evaluation of the Communist Totalitarian Regime in Moldova, historian Igor Cașu is in the possession of a copy of the original in the Russian language. In the mid 1970s, the engineer Gheorghe David began to publicly express his opposition to the communist regime in a series of letters he wrote to several high-ranking Soviet political figures, including Brezhnev and Chernenko. In these letters, he called into question the main myth of the regime: the USSR’s creation by the “free will of the people.” Gheorghe David also criticised the decision to invade Czechoslovakia in 1968. Consequently, in 1974, he was summoned before the KGB and was warned that he would be punished in line with the Criminal Code if he “relapsed”. This attempt at intimidation by the Soviet repressive organs failed, and in 1982, right after Brezhnev’s death, David sent a letter to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (the Soviet Parliament), arguing that the disastrous social and economic situation in the Soviet Union, in general, and in the MSSR, in particular, was generated by the inflated spending on the military sector. Gheorghe David stated explicitly that the Soviet Army was an aggressive army, as the Soviet military invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 clearly proved, and not a defensive one, as the official propaganda claimed. After Andropov’s death in February 1984, Gheorghe David sent a letter to Konstantin Chernenko, the new secretary general of the Central Committee of the CPSU, in which he expressed critical opinions about the poor economic situation of the overwhelming majority of the Soviet population and listed the causes of this disaster in his view. In April 1985, he reiterated his attempts to enter a dialogue with the party leadership and sent a letter to Mikhail Gorbachev, shortly after his appointment as secretary general of the CPSU. As he had received no answer to these letters, but the secret police had already begun harassing him, Gheorghe David sent another letter to Gorbachev on 26 October 1985. At the same time, he made the letter public by sending it to some Soviet and foreign newspapers, such as Tinerimea Moldovei (Chişinău), Pravda (Moscow), România Liberă (Bucharest), Unità (the newspaper of the Italian Communist Party), L’Humanité (the newspaper of the French Communist Party), as well as to some private individuals. Not only was the strategy of communication different, but also the content of the open letter, which illustrates the radicalisation of his views. Gheorghe David wrote to Gorbachev that the Soviet Union had promoted an imperial foreign policy and that the entire Soviet history was full of falsifications. He also criticised the fact that historians were keeping silent about the content of the Nazi–Soviet pact of 23 August 1939 (the so-called Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, as a result of which the USSR occupied Western Ukraine and Belarus, the Baltic States, Bessarabia, and Northern Bukovina). He also demanded the rehabilitation in the MSSR of the Latin alphabet, which had been prohibited in 1941. In his view, this prevented ethnic Romanians from the MSSR, i.e. the majority of the local population, from reading Romanian language publications published in Romania. David believed that this policy reflected the discrimination against local Romanians and was a part of the strategy of Russification of the local population. Besides his anti-Soviet and anti-imperial message, Gheorghe David bitterly criticised the communist regime and ideology. He defined communism as a system based on lies and exploitation of the people. He also emphasised that the experience of the Second World War had proved to the whole world the need to ensure a better future that would be “more peaceful, more plentiful, without empires or wars”. He was arrested on 1 August 1986 during a trip to Tiraspol, a city on the left bank of the Dniester River, and subsequently sent to a psychiatric hospital in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Gheorghe David was tried and sentenced on 12 January 1987 in his absence. He was released in the summer of 1988 after a vigorous international campaign promoted by Amnesty International and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.
The plan has a detailed description of the intelligentsia and youth groups, accusing them of encouraging nationalism. There are a number of high schools with 'negative elements' on the list, and they prepared detailed operational-informer measures for each of these schools accordingly. The file provides readers with ideas of what was understood by the KGB as nationalism and anti-Soviet activity in high schools in Soviet Lithuania.
The documents of the 2nd Directorate reveal what operational measures the KGB took against the intelligentsia and youth, especially students and writers. Following this KGB activity, Irena Kostkevičiūtė and Meilutė Lukšienė, professors in the Department of Lithuanian Language and Literature at Vilnius University, lost their jobs, and some students were expelled from the university.