edited by Margit Rosen
 – A Little-Known Story about a Movement, a Magazine, and the Computer’s Arrival in Art: New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961—1973

576 pages

576 pages, 
The MIT Press
, 2011, 
ISBN: 978-0262515818
In the history of media art, Zagreb has definitively been on the map since the very beginning. In 1961 there was a seminal movement called “New Tendencies”, which officially started with a pioneering exhibition curated by Matko Mestrovic at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This international group of (self-defined) researchers were investigating how emerging computer technologies could be used to create different forms of art. Their investigations, ahead of their time, dealt with kinetic, abstract, programmed and conceptual art (which lead to the flourishing of computer art elsewhere) in the distinctive cultural environment of cold war Yugoslavia. This large group coalesced, producing artworks, exhibitions, symposium, catalogues and the historical Bit International magazine (written primarily in Serbo-Croatian, English, French, and German), remaining active until 1978. This hefty book is, in ZKM/Mit press tradition, the “exploded” catalogue of a big exhibition held at ZKM in 2008 (the project was initiated by Darko Fritz). It’s an encyclopedic systematization of the movement’s heritage and includes a large number of documents, original photographs and texts. The excited, active participation seen at the time is enlightening, especially when the technological limits they had to face are considered. Their “art as visual research” motto produced works and debates which can now be seen as a collection of ideas worthy of further study and eventual revamping.