Beginning with the fall/winter semester, 2001 I was extended an invitation by the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, Romania to instruct art students in a school of thought revolving around the concepts of systems and propositions of the late systems theoretic, Niklas Luhmann. Such perspectives are indeed significant in marking the bounds of art communication in regards to related aspects of society, be it business, politics, or religion - any sector of our society describing itself in relation to art.
More than a decade after the Ceausescu era an emerging enthusiasm and pioneering spirit are already marking economic and political trends in Transylvania. A comparison might be drawn to the years after US Great Depression or post war Germany, times when people joined to face the tasks at hand. Throughout this multi-ethnic state young entrepreneurs are eagerly searching out avenues of communication in linking up with the world community, particularly to Western Europe and the America. Heading east to Romania presented a tremendous chance for myself, in recognition of the research potential for monitoring the outcome of introducing such thought at the onset of an emerging post cold war society.
Learning about systems theory helps students to observe how art generates its own dynamics in linking with its environment, in turn determining its own bounds of influence. Terms such as art, society, and meaning are no longer just definitions, but take on operational significance in relationship to the observer’s position. In this light it’s increasingly important for upcoming generations of art students to realize how they can indeed communicate to any part of society they choose, to have their art relate, and shape their own identity in the process.
Now in its fourth semester (2003) the group has begun to incorporate new levels of theoretical complexity, even initiating a number of course projects. For example several graduating students have formalized class concepts by initiating a local association, the Luhmann Group Romania, and also assisted with the conceptual framework of this website. Other students have developed interactive art projects (installation, performance, “observart”) and concepts on local culture journalism, whose expression is sure to find its place on this website soon.
My personal thanks goes to the team of DSG Digital Media in Cluj-Napoca, Romania for designing and sponsoring this website, to Glaskasten Intermedia Romania for their strategic council, and to Spacetime Publishing Germany for their logistical assistance. We now invite the reader to return periodically to this site and enjoy the development of culture in the making!
Professor Frederick D. Bunsen
Art Theory and Communication
Faculty of Fine Arts
University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca
Spring 2003 Cluj-Napoca, Romania