‘Revolution Is Not a Garden Party’

27 Oct.'19
- 10:00

1989: Artists, activists, and social change

A playwright became a president, a singing revolution overthrew a dictatorship, forbidden writers climbed on balconies and talked to the crowds. 1989 was a unique year, when artists had the chance to create a new political system, and when free creativity was the sign of a new age in Central and Eastern Europe. What do we take today from this period? Can artists be designers of a new social order? Should they aspire for that? And how much of the legacy of artists and activists of the generation 1989 is alive three decades later?
A whole day gathering brings together artists, activists, scholars and leaders of different generations to discuss among themselves as well as with broad public. The discussion will be accompanied by performances, screenings, and a library of banned books. Organised within the project ‘Engagement through Culture before and after 1989’ with the support of the ‘Europe for Citizens Programme’ of the European Union.

Curators: Tereza Porybná et Jitka Pánek Jurková


10:30 - 12:15 - 1989/2019 – Then and now
The famous and notoriously provocative artist David Černý, former dissident, journalist and Charter 77 spokesperson Petruška Šustrová, and  political scientist Jiří Přibáň are looking back at 1989 and its significance for today in a discussion moderated by Pieter De Buysser.

12:15 - 12:30 - Performance Svatopluk Mikyta

13:15 - 14:15 - Revolution is not a garden party
Maya and Reuben Fowkes
 exploring artistic initiatives and communities existing outside the institutional framework in Central and Eastern Europe prior and post 1989.

14:30 - 15:45 - Public space as a site for civic action
Pavel Karous
and Kristina Norman both deal with the significance of art of the communist era in public space. They will engage with Svatopluk Mikyta and Zuzana Bodnárová, the curators of the appraised Slovak gallery Banská St A Nica Contemporary, and Polish artist and activist Monika Drożyńska. The conversation will be moderated by Pepijn Kennis.

15:45 - 16:10 - Screening of Orange Alternative by Mirosław Dembiński
This documentary etude is devoted to the history of the counter-cultural formation Orange Alternative, which originated from the city of Wrocław and was founded by artist Major Fydrych. The film contains a footage of happenings organised by the group in the city streets.

16:30 - 18:00 Heroes not for just one day
Artists and activists discussing their engagement in Europe today – Sonia Dermience, Tamara Moyzes, John Jordan from the French collective ZAD, Sébastien Hendrickx from Extinction Rebellion and Mikuláš Minář van Million Moments for Democracy. Moderated by Tereza Porybná.
With artistic intervention by Martin Zet (CZ), Svatopluk Mikyta (SK) and Major Fydrych (PL).

​​​​​​​18:00 - 18:30 - Performance Martin Zet.

Four speakers – Tamara Moyzes (SK), Kristina Norman (EE), Jiří Přibáň (CZ) en Martin Zet (CZ) –  are invited to the House of European History (HEH) the day before, on Saturday 26 October to deliver short tours in the permanent exhibition, engage personally and critically with the museum’s narrative on the fall of the Eastern European ‘Bloc’, and to illuminate this narrative with the many visions of this moment in national histories past and present.
Registration on HEH’s website >

Practical information



Rue Ravenstein 23 1000 BRUSSELS


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