Samizdat: the underground rivers of communication


‘The Russian word SAMIZDAT literally means self-expression. A person puts down his own ideas in writing (in a novel, a letter, a protest pamphlet, a song, a cartoon) and hands the text over to a trusted friend. His friend reads and reproduces the text (on a typewriter, copier, etc.) and then redistributes it. A large number of people are currently in prison, having been accused of distributing “defamatory” texts through the SAMIZDAT. Underground publishing, born in Russia at the end of the 50’s, is now common to all the East European countries. With it came a new relationship between the work and the reader who takes on an active and responsible role the moment he decides to reproduce and redistribute it. The Samizdat gathers together and publicizes texts relating to various branches of human intellectual activity: history, philosophy, simple letters, appeals, protest pamphlets. All kinds of materials are employed: type or hand-written paper, pieces of cloth or wood (many of these are on display in the exhibition), shreds of clothing, cassette recordings, microfilms, videotapes. And the list could continue. The exhibition staged within Meeting ’86 illustrates the fundamental stages to the Samizdat in the various countries of Eastern Europe where it exists: – civil rights movements, – the battle for religious freedom and in favour of national and cultural identity, – the great Solidarnosc movement, – the work of Charta ’77, – the imperceptible and daily resistance of individuals and peoples who claim their right “to live without falsehood”. It is divided into four sections: the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia; the fourth section includes the other Eastern European countries. Each section displays the most important original documents of the Samizdat.’


23 Agosto 1986 - 30 Agosto 1986


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions