Issue #30-31, 2008
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Commonplaces Of Transition: Conceived And Directed By Joanne Richardson
D Media

Commonplaces of Transition is a video project by D Media (Romania), in collaboration with Interspace (Bulgaria), K:SAK (Moldova) and Videoaktiv (Germany), that seeks to represent transition from the inside, in contrast to the dominant stories from the outside. The title exploits the double meaning of “commonplaces” in the English language: the project focuses literally on the common places of transition, on what different transition countries have in common, and, secondly, it examines the commonplaces of transition, those things that are viewed as self-evident and beyond question, in other words, those things that inhabit the realm of ideology. The ideology of transition legitimates the incorporation of post-communist countries into global capitalism as the only alternative after 1989; it equates democracy with the free market and it dis­misses any form of leftist resistance as a hangover from totalitarian communism. The goal of the 8 videos produced by D Media and the partners is to open up a critical dialogue about the meaning of transition and other alternatives than simply “catching up” with the global market. The videos explore several issues: the impact of transition on re-mapping borders, territories, and identities in Romania and Moldova (the focus of the collaboration between D Media and K:SAK), the transformation of labour in Romania and Germany (the focus of the collaboration between D Media and Videoaktiv), and the different forms of activism that have emerged in Romania and Bulgaria (the focus of the collaboration between D Media and Interspace).

The 3 videos produced by D Media, In Transit, Precarious Lives, and Two or Three Things about Activism, are conceived and directed by Joanne Richardson. Other members of D Media who contributed to the production are: Andreea Cârnu, Nita Mocanu, Liviu Pop and Marius Stoica. In addition to the 3 videos by D Media, which are includ­ed as an insert, another 5 videos have been produced by the partners. The project was made possible with financial support from the European Cultural Foundation.

D Media (www.dmedia.ro) is an NGO in Cluj working in the intersection of media art and social activism. Since 2002, it has organized conferences and production workshops on alternative media, digital video, audio streaming, sound art in public space, and an Eclectic Tech Carnival for women. D Media’s video projects include Real Fictions (2004–2005), a series of videos in collaboration with teenagers from Cluj, Made in Italy (2005–2006), a collaboration with Candida TV from Rome about Italian companies in Romania and Romanian migrants in Italy, and Commonplaces of Transition (2007–2008).

Joanne Richardson was born in Bucharest, studied philosophy, film and video in the U.S., and is now living and working in Cluj as a writer, artist, and director of D Media. She is the editor of two books on digital culture and the author of numerous essays on political art, the radical left, experimental film and video, tactical media, the myth of authorship and copyleft. Her videos reflect an ongoing interest in the phenomena of globalization, nationalism and post-communism, and manifest a critical perspective toward the status of docu­ments, history, and memory.