Extra: Former West

While Project ‘1975’ researches the relation between international contemporary art and the postcolonial discourse, Former West reflects upon the changes introduced to the world (and thus to the so-called West) by the political, cultural, artistic, and economic events of 1989.

The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 represented the end of the Cold War between the communist East and the capitalist West, and represented the end of an era (or even ‘the end of history’ in the words of Francis Fukuyama). The term “former West,” the unofficial counterpart to the widely used “former East,” refers to this division. How have the events in 1989 influenced the dichotomy? What has changed since then? And what is it that we have in mind when we now speak of the “East” and the “West?”
 These are the questions initiator Maria Hlavajova (artistic director of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht) and co-organisor Charles Esche (director Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven) formulated during the introduction of the first research congress in 2009.