Ludvík Hlaváček studied art history at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. In the 1960s and 1970s, his studies focused on the phenomenological philosophy he had learned from Jan Patočka. When he signed Charter 77 in 1977, he had to leave the Institute of Theory and History of Art of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and worked as a manual labourer until 1989. Between 1984 and 1989 he co-authored, with a group of art historians, "Někdo něco", which was devoted to contemporary art criticism. In the early 1980s he was influenced by postmodernism and Zdeněk Bonaventura Bouše. After the revolution, he was editor of the Fine Arts magazine and again joined the Institute for Theory and History of Art. In 1992, he was commissioned to set up and run the Soros Center for Contemporary Art. Today, he is the director of the Foundation for Contemporary Art and teaches at the Faculty of Art and Design of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem.
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Alija Hodžić was born in 1944 in the town of Stolac in central Bosnia. He studied Sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. Hodžić was chief editor responsible for the “Student” magazine from the end of 1968 until the beginning of 1970, until a final confrontation with the editorial staff and editing policy at that time. Due to his role at “Student”, he was afterwards unable to find work in Belgrade, and so after graduating in 1972 he was temporarily employed in a young offender institution in his home town. In the following years, he moved to Zagreb where he began work at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Zagreb. He was employed at the institute until his retirement. Hodžić published several books, of which the most important are, “The Village as Choice?” (2006) and “Traces Along the Way – Sociological Fragments of the Modernization Process“ (2008).
In the 1990s, Alija Hodžić took an active role in the anti-war movement. He lives in Zagreb.
About the former system and scope for action, Alija Hodžić says in the interview with COURAGE: “There was a hole in the system – an area in which you could operate outside the ideologically imposed framework. There were different people in the framework of the system, they were not united. Though there was one party, interests were diverse. But in the public eye it looked like unity“. He considers the 1968 movement as having been significant in affirming the aspirations of youth.
Commenting on self-management and the possibilities to reform the socialist system in general, Hodžić explained in conversation with COURAGE: “It seemed to me that self-management had a rational and self-evident premise... that people are naturally interested in improving the conditions of their lives and because of that must, in cooperation with others, autonomously work to advance them, in addition by creating the corresponding institutions. But ’democratic centralism’ with an autocratic ’general secretary’, I was convinced, inevitably challenged this option. I thought that support for such an option could perhaps be found in some kind of socialist political pluralism, in other words that the fundamental aims in the programme of the League of Communists could become the general value system of society, while the political differences in concrete political activity could be expressed through already existing organizations... thus they could constitute themselves alongside and as a counterweight to the League of Communists as autonomous organizations with political activity, and not as transmission ones, and so reform the Socialist Federation, the Trade Union Federation, as well as the Youth Federation and the Student Federation.“
Commenting on the pressure exerted on the staff at ’Student’, Hodžić said: "The dispute resulted from the [magazine’s] above mentioned position on the system, that it was possible and imperative to act autonomously, that different standpoints on the same social issue could be assumed publicly, within the framework of the general value system, and practice founded upon on that, which would be part of the general system of self-management. All this, to a large extent, was refracted through the notion of the ’free press’. We were under the surveillance and control of the party and the security service. Those were unpleasant interviews with party officials on various levels and interviews with the security service person who was responsible for disobedient students. The security service guy, who was from my home region and positively inclined towards me, on several occasions sought me out in Stolac where after the changes at ’Student’ and having completed military service, I was to be employed... ’We both know you were up to something there in Belgrade, but that has nothing to do with us’.“
After moving to Zagreb, the situation changed to a degree. The pressure decreased, but he remained under surveillance of a kind. Hodžić explained this in the following way: “In Zagreb I had only one meeting with the security service man. He was interested in the activities of the student group, ’Man and the System’, which was led by professors Rudi Supek and Eugen Pusić. The group was almost exclusively made up of economists, philosophers, jurists, sociologists and political scientists from Zagreb, Belgrade and Ljubljana. As a rule, they met once a month to discuss various social issues. I was the group’s secretary. The man signalled that he knew about my activities in Belgrade and my talks with his colleague. I had the impression that on the basis of the information he had at his disposal he expected, from his point of view, a successful interview. I told him that all I could do was to inform professors Supek and Pusić about it, which I did. He took it quite calmly and without any efforts to start any kind of discussion. With that, the interview was over. Recently, some Zagreb newspapers published the records of people who were under surveillance by the security service. Among the names, along with those of several people who had been close to me from my institute and the Faculty of Philosophy, was mine. Who knows on the basis of what criteria the group, according to the classification of the security service, had been branded ’the civil [political] right’?”
She graduated from the Faculty of Music in Belgrade (1971) and received her Master's degree (1974) from the Department of Musicology under Nikola Hercigonja. She received her doctorate from the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade in 1981 [dissertation title: The creative presence of the European avant-garde in us]) under Professor Radoslav Josimović.
Since 1973 Veselinović-Hofman has taught contemporary modern music history at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, and she has been a professor at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad. During her stay in South Africa she also taught at the University of Pretoria.Veselinović-Hofman is the editor of the international music magazine Novi Zvuk [New Sound] and a member of the editorial department of Zbornika Matice srpske za scenske umetnosti i muziku [Matica Srpska Annual for Performing Arts and Music]. Furthermore, she is a member of the musical section of the Srpske enciklopedije [Serbian Encyclopedia]. She has produced musical critiques for broadcasts of Radio Belgrade and Politika.
- Belgrade, Serbia
Hofman claims that he does not remember himself as part of the “cultural opposition” in the 1970s and 1980s, since, in his opinion, “in Belgrade, there was no dominant ‘socialist-realism narrative’, nor an ‘all valid thesis’ which would prescribe artistic poetics, deeds, content… that would affect creativity in music”. He makes a distinction between different branches of art, such as literature, film, theatre, and visual art, which had “certain boundaries that defined undesirable (and even prohibited) themes; music as a non-semantic art was not among them".
On the other hand, the situation of classical music should be looked upon through the perspective of the modest space this branch of art has in society and, thus, the confined market it operates in. There were strong (and among themselves antagonistic) groups of ‘traditionalists’ conservative composers and the avantgarde. Both groups were striving for greater attention in the society and, thus, material support. The communist regime, however, showed a certain indifference towards classical music. This was reflected in the fact that both conservative/traditional and avantgarde composers did not particular support of the government.
Hofman described the influence of politics on the artistic scene as an emerging system of values where it was prescribed what was “preferred, what will certainly be accepted”, while, on the other hand, another thing gets marginalized. He states that the main criterion is always quality; however, he later questions this: “can quality be recognized with certainty”, thus noting that quality was in this context defined by its closeness to specific cultural politics.
The Academy for Music was one of the locations of the struggle between the conservative and the avantgarde. The Academy was, in Hofman’s words, conservative when it came to study of composition, and that he as a student was against conservativism or academicism in the curriculum and work methods of the Academy. Regarding academicism, he primarily considers the study and imitation of previous musical epochs, and the suffocation of new elements and approaches to contemporary music. However, today Hofman thinks that academism was already withering when he started studying. Therefore, this kind of strictness, with which previous generations were faced with, was already “loosened up”. He describes his position as student who rebelled against the outdated teaching of classical music composition. “Therefore, I have had, as a student, rebelled against these aspects or elements, when I say conservatism - I mean academism - in the curriculum and the methods of work in the study of composition.”
From today’s perspective, however, Hofman sees the importance of the classical approach to compositional study and says: “Today when I look at that time it seems that it was useful. On the other hand, it was useful that I rebelled against it, that I did not accept that that was all I was supposed to know. I even have, sometime near the end of my studies, de facto accepted to go back in my work in order to fill what was perhaps a void in my education, caused by my resistance towards academism. Even then I accepted to go back only temperately, as part of the educational system I should accept and it is good to accept. However, I did not think that it was something I wanted to do, which I think I have proven afterwards through my work. I would not say I was pronouncedly avantgarde or rebellious. On the other hand, when I look back, it seems to me that I was more different than others. I tried to do what I was interested in, what was contemporary at that moment in music.”
At the beginning of 1980s, Srđan Hofman mastered the analogue technique of electronic music in the studio of the Third Program of Radio Belgrade, opened in 1972 by Vladan Radovanović and Paul Mignion. At his initiative and thanks to his advocacy, the Studio for Electronic Music was opened at the Academy of Music in 1982.
In this regard, Hofman thinks he had support, as he said, “of smaller groups of people who did a lot for contemporary music”, where he also names the Third Program of Radio Belgrade. “Of course, their audience was small, they were a small station and from that perspective I could say, I did not have any support. For me it is important and I claim that I had support.”
Srđan Hofman’s body of work contains many orchestral, vocal-instrumental, chamber, solo, and choral works for which he has received many awards. His compositions have been performed at leading domestic and international festivals, such as the Musical Biennale in Zagreb or the World Days of Music in Germany and Sweden. His works are considered to be products of postmodernism in music, and Hofman is considered to be one of the first composers in the former Yugoslavia to use electronic music within classical music.Today Srđan Hofman works as a composer, professor of composition at the Faculty of Music and Multimedia Art at the University of Art in Belgrade. He also examines theoretical issues in contemporary music and published, beside journal articles, the book “Characteristics of Electronic Music”. Between 1989 and 1998 he was the dean of Faculty of Music. Hofman also served as the Ambassador of Serbia to South Africa between 2002 and 2006.
- Belgrade, Serbia
Hojak comes from a workers’ housing estate Rataje in Poznan. His parents, turner and cleaner by professions, came from a peasant environment, and in his memories Hojak often came back to his childhood years in the countryside. Such biography (of a new working class, created as a result of intensive industrialisation and urbanisation) was quite typical for the anarchistic environment in Poznan. “Metys” went to a basic vocational school with a typographical profile. He studied to be a typesetter – a vocation which combined physical work with preparing books and magazines to be published. Moreover, in the 1980s the typesetters were highly esteemed, due to their connections to secret, underground printing houses of “Solidarity”. Thus, choosing this type of school was a result of his workers’ background, literary and intellectual ambitions, and dissent attitude. Since 1986 Hojak worked as a distributor of the second-circuit magazine “Agency News Review” – which was a perfect opportunity to meet oppositional activists and get himself acquainted with underground publications. The systemic transformation coming together with technological development resulted in making Hojak’s freshly learned vocation useless, as digital typesetting and offset commercial printing houses quickly stepped into power.
In the early 1990s “Metys” was mainly interested in the underground art activities: artzines, mail art, badges. He was connected to the Independent Group of Artists “Imperatyw” and their literary magazine “Woskowka”, as well as the Social Reading Room of State and Émigré Publications. At the same time he edited the artzine “Szelest” (“Rustle”), a neo-Dadaist, manually produced, and created collectively (without stating the author). The zine was an opportunity for fun and experiment: the titles, and sometimes even whole texts, were pasted with the letters cut out of the newspapers; the photocopied issues were manually coloured with Bambino crayons (typical children’s wax crayons). Editing the zine soon developed into publishing poetry volumes and reprints of classical anarchistic brochures.
In 1994 the publishing house Oficyna Wydawnicza Bractwa Trojka was founded and Hojak has been still co-running it. Nowadays, Trojka is definitely the biggest publisher of anarchistic works in Poland. The same year the Rozbrat squat was established – Metys is a member of its collective. In 1997 Hojak was one of the founders of the Poznan Anarchist Library, which was located in Rozbrat. He used own social activism and literary passion in order to run occupational therapy workshops. He has been still working in the library, as one of its founders. He also engages in various initiatives of Poznan’s libertarian environment.
- Poznań Pułaskiego 21A, Poland 60-607