1960s Africa Albania American modern art Armando Lulaj authorship Belgrade Capitalism collective project conceptual art contemporary art copy and original DebatikCenter of Contemporary Art fluid identities identity identity politics international exhibition Jonida Gashi local history photography Pleurad Xhafa postcolonialism public art Roma art Roma Pavilion Soviet Union Tirana transnational dialogues traveling exhibitions Venice Biennale Yugoslavia ZETA Gallery
Sonja Simonyi is a Brussels-based independent scholar exploring the audiovisual cultures of socialist Eastern Europe. Her dissertation, which she completed at New York University’s Department of Cinema Studies, addressed the multiplicity of frontier imaginaries across the region via the appropriation of the cinematic Western genre in late socialist film culture. Her writings on this topic, as well as the subject of alternative and experimental filmmaking, have appeared in a number of art magazines, edited volumes, as well as academic journals, including Third Text and Film History. Sonja is the co-editor of a special issue of Studies in Eastern European Cinema (2016) on experimental filmmaking under state socialism and more recently of the volume Experimental Cinema in State-Socialist Eastern Europe (2022) published by Amsterdam University Press, both together with Ksenya Gurshtein. Alongside academic projects, Sonja regularly curates film and video programs on a range of subjects. Her screenings have been shown at the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), EYE (Amsterdam) and Beursschouwburg (Brussels), among other international venues. Since 2018, Sonja has been a board member of the artist group Messidor, and regularly collaborates on various creative projects with Messidor artists Eitan Efrat and Sirah Foighel Brutmann.