The word “contimporary” is a misspelling conditioned by the lack of top-level domain (TLD) names when came the time for me to register this site. It is however a lucky one, for it alludes to a historical avant-garde magazine of interbellum Bucharest. “Contimporanul” (the antiquated spelling of the Romanian word for “contemporary”) was a publication of the Romanian avant-garde; it was the platform for the artistic, literary and critical productions of dadaists, integralists (the local constructivists), and later for some of the surrealists. Contimporary dot org borrows the name of this historical journal, and by translating it into English hints toward the main concerns of this site: Contemporaneity.

The word contimporary brings forward some issues that currently concern me, issues that draw upon the contemporary, or rather the contimporary in art, art history, theory, literature, and history. Even though the site deals with certain aspects of “global” or “world” contemporary art – for this seems to be the main feature of the contemporary – the reader may find that some material and themes revolve around Eastern Europe (or what once used to be called so), as well as around the contemporary artistic communities in Chisinau (Republic of Moldova) and Moscow (Russia). The main language of communication however remains English, and this is due to the nature and particularities of those projects with which I am currently dealing, and to the fact that most of the contemporary literature on the contemporary is in English.

The site is divided into several sections, whose purpose I hope is self-explanatory. Each section is a work in progress, and it may change from day to day, as it waits to accommodate new material and contributions. The Dictionary entitled “What Was Contemporary Art?” (discussed in more detail in its own About) brings forward some research material and thoughts on this particular question, which I have been asking myself for some time. Having been involved in the second half of the 1990s in the popularization of the phrase “contemporary art” in Moldova (as the founding director of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art, Chisinau) I arrived at some point in my life to ask myself and those around me this question. Thus the Dictionary brings forward certain concepts that have caught my attention while I researched this topic.

The sections Project and Text contains work that I have produced over the past nine or ten years. After spending seven years in a PhD program in the United States (my longest and most time consuming project) many of my friends kept asking me: what have you done all these years? Have you gone nuts? It is true that unlike in the art world, where the spectacular quality of images adds to one’s work and makes it visible in a way that the products of one’s academic labor – which is often obscurely hidden in tiny fonts and fails to provoke the interest of an audience – cannot. It is work however, and a very difficult kind – let me tell you! As if in response to my friends’ questions I have placed some of my recent work, which is both academic and non-academic, in the sections Project, Text, and Blog.


Octavian Esanu

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