Book Section
Kata Krasznahorkai

‘The Reconstruction of the Past is the Task of Historians and not Agents’

Operative Reenactment in State Security Archives
State security archives in Eastern Europe are shedding new light on the operative practices of the secret services and their interaction with performance art. Surveillance, tracking, undermining, disruption, writing of reports, and measure plans were different operative methods to be carried out in continuous repetitive processes. This paper argues that, through these repetitive working processes, state security agencies were permanently engaged in different forms of reenactments: of orders, legends, report writing, and inventing measure plans. With this operative reenactment, state security agencies not only tried to track down facts but also created ‘fake facts’ serving their agenda. These `fake-facts` were then again repeated and reenacted by informants endlessly to be `effective` in the surveillance and elimination of performance art.
Keywords: operative reenactment; performance art; state security archives
Title
‘The Reconstruction of the Past is the Task of Historians and not Agents’
Subtitle
Operative Reenactment in State Security Archives
Author(s)
Kata Krasznahorkai
Identifier
Description
State security archives in Eastern Europe are shedding new light on the operative practices of the secret services and their interaction with performance art. Surveillance, tracking, undermining, disruption, writing of reports, and measure plans were different operative methods to be carried out in continuous repetitive processes. This paper argues that, through these repetitive working processes, state security agencies were permanently engaged in different forms of reenactments: of orders, legends, report writing, and inventing measure plans. With this operative reenactment, state security agencies not only tried to track down facts but also created ‘fake facts’ serving their agenda. These `fake-facts` were then again repeated and reenacted by informants endlessly to be `effective` in the surveillance and elimination of performance art.
Is Part Of
Place
Berlin
Publisher
ICI Berlin Press
Date
4 January 2022
Subject
operative reenactment
performance art
state security archives
Rights
© by the author(s)
Except for images or otherwise noted, this publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Language
en-GB
page start
29
page end
36
Source
Over and Over and Over Again: Reenactment Strategies in Contemporary Arts and Theory, ed. by Cristina Baldacci, Clio Nicastro, and Arianna Sforzini, Cultural Inquiry, 21 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2022), pp. 29–36

References

  • ‘MfS-Dictionary: Werbung’, Stasi-Unterlagen-Archiv, ed. by Der Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik <https://www.bstu.de/mfs-lexikon/detail/werbung/> [accessed 17 November 2020]
  • ‘Az információs munka elméleti és módszertani kérdései [The Theoretical and Methodological Questions of Information Work], Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára Budapest [Historical Archive of the State Security Services Budapest], 2 vols. (1977), I:ÁBTL A-3005/30/1
  • HMKV Exhibition Magazine 2/2019, ed. by Inke Arns, Kata Krasznahorkai, and Sylvia Sasse (Dortmund: Hartware MedienKunstVerein, 2019) <https://www.hmkv.de/files/hmkv/ausstellungen/2019/AGENTS/05_Publikation/HMKV_AGENTS_Magazin_DE-EN.pdf> [accessed 20 February 2020]
  • Krasznahorkai, Kata, ‘Heightened Alert: The Underground Art Scene in the Sights of the Secret Police — Surveillance Files as a Resource for Research into Artists’ Activities in the Underground of the 1960s and 1970s’, in Art Beyond Borders: Artistic Exchange in Communist Europe (1945-1989), ed. by Jérôme Bazin, Pascal Dubourg Glatigny, and Piotr Piotrowski (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2015), pp. 125–39
  • Krasznahorkai, Kata, ‘Surveilling the Public Sphere: The First Hungarian Happening in Secret Agents Reports’, in Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere: Event-based Art in Late Socialist Europe, ed. by Katalin Cseh-Varga and Adam Czirak, Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 127–38 <https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315193106-10>
  • Krasznahorkai, Kata, and Sylvia Sasse, eds, Artists & Agents. Performancekunst und Geheimdienste (Leipzig: Spector Books, 2019)
  • Lütticken, Sven, ‘An Arena in Which to Reenact’, in Life, Once More: Forms of Reenactment in Contemporary Art, ed. by Sven Lütticken (Rotterdam: Witte de With, 2005), pp. 17–60
  • Phelan, Peggy, Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (London: Routledge, 1995)
  • Sasse, Sylvia, ‘KGB: The Art of Performance. Action Art or Actions against Art?’, Artmargins, 30 December 1999 <http://www.artmargins.com/index.php/2-articles/449-kgb-or-the-art-of-performance-action-art-or-actions-against-art> [accessed 28 February 2019]
  • Sasse, Sylvia, ‘Stasi-Dada. Was KünstlerInnen aus ihren Geheimdienstakten machen’, Geschichte der Gegenwart, 16 February 2016 <http://geschichtedergegenwart.ch/stasi-dada-gabriele-stoetzer-las-im-cabaret-voltaire-aus-ihren-akten/> [accessed 20 February 2018]
  • Sasse, Sylvia, Subversive Affirmation (Berlin: Diaphanes, 2022)
  • Schneider, Rebecca, Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment (London: Routledge, 2011)

Cite as: Kata Krasznahorkai, ‘“The Reconstruction of the Past is the Task of Historians and not Agents”: Operative Reenactment in State Security Archives’, in Over and Over and Over Again: Reenactment Strategies in Contemporary Arts and Theory, ed. by Cristina Baldacci, Clio Nicastro, and Arianna Sforzini, Cultural Inquiry, 21 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2022), pp. 29-36 <https://doi.org/10.37050/ci-21_04>