Sweet Sixties

Avant-gardes in the Shadows of the Cold War.


Sweet 60s is a long-term trans-regional research initiative working between art, research, media and educational contexts in Europe, the Middle East, West and Central Asia and Northern Africa. Involving a particular group of experimentally orientated arts and research groups as well as particular artists researchers and media, Sweet 60s investigates hidden histories or underexposed cultural junctions and exchange channels in the revolutionary period of the 1960s.

While ancient art and colonial histories of West Asia and the South Mediterranean countries of the Middle East and North Africa are familiar enough to an interested public, the specific constellations of modernisms and neo-avant-gardes in these regions still stay widely unknown.

This applies especially to the period of the 1960s: Conceptualism in the Caucasus, the impact of urban avant-gardes in the Middle East or the peripheries of the Soviet Empire and on the Arab peninsula, the neo avant-garde visual cultures of the decolonizing Maghreb, the role of the Non-Aligned Movement and the multilayered pathways of the transfer of knowledge which take place off the hegemonically imposed map – all these stories still are to be researched and trans-locally told; histories not yet canonized, some not even locally known.

The urgency of the project comes not just out of an historic interest, but is also driven by a political current. Keeping these histories of urban emancipatory movements and artistic practices of the 1960s alive has already become a point of reference for an internationalist and engaged young urban generation in the countries in question, living, as they do, in an environment that is often affected by authoritarianisms and nationalisms of all kinds.

Sweet 60s is realized through a series of research platforms, exhibitions, publications and educational programs as well as archiving activities throughout the region. It is the objective of Sweet 60s to document and present this period in its marked originality and to mediate this to an international professional audience as well as to local and international general audiences.

Sweet Sixties was initiated by


tranzit.at is the Vienna hub of tranzit.org, a network of independent initiatives in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovak Republic. tranzit.org operates as a collective of these autonomous local units, cooperating across various borders – between nations, languages, media, mentalities and histories.

tranzit.at was founded in 2004. Its aim is to challenge the post-Fordist idea of cultural production and of the cultural institution in the categories of efficiency and relevance. tranzit.at is dedicated to the research of long-term counter canonical artistic practices and engaging in translocal collaborations beyond the event and across disciplines.