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SIGNALIST DOCUMENTATION CENTRE

Signalist Documentation Centre was founded in 1970, immediately after numerous contacts with a large number of avant-garde artists from all over the world had been established and the first voluminous parcels had arrived: books, journals and other information material. Upon arrival (journals, catalogues, books, postcards, letters, photographs, objects, records, original work of art, cassettes, etc.) documentation was partly classified and registered in some volumes of the International Review for Signalist Research SIGNAL. But, generally the material still remained unsorted, in a state of a dynamic or, more precisely, creative chaos.
One of the basic aims of the Centre is, for sure, collecting and saving signalist documentation and works (papers) concerned with signalism and avant-garde creative movement which originated and developed in Serbian culture and was active in the broad Yugoslav space*. There is quite a lot of such material and it has already been used for a doctoral thesis Signalism: Genesis, Poetics and Artistic Practice, written by Zivan Zivkovic assistant (now professor) at the Faculty of Philology, who obtained his doctoral degree at the same faculty in April 1991. Yet, as quite logical a great deal more documents (books, journals, catalogues, etc.) refer to European and world avant-garde from the seventies and eighties, especially Visual Poetry** and Mail Art. One may freely say that the main contents of the Signalist Documentation Centre, is in fact formed of publications which in a way represent these two artistic forms and artifacts connected or directly concerned with them.
The material which has arrived to the Centre comprised mainly works, books, catalogues mainly sent by artists who themselves wished, first of all, to contribute in the review SIGNAL*** . This journal has achieved remarkable recognition within international avant-garde circles in the beginning of the seventies.
A great number of works and other documents was obtained due to calls for anthologies that I composed for magazine Delo no.3, 1975. and Mail Art - Mail Poetry, Delo no.2, 1980.
Cooperation and exchange with other archives and similar centres was established. In the beginning and mid seventies, most successful communication was with neo-Dadaist centre and archives of avant-garde artist Klaus Groh, who later became a professor in Oldenburg (Germany). Here, one should also mention The Jean Brown Archives, Tyringham, Massachusets, who specialized in Dadaism and Surrealism but contains avant-garde works from the period after Second World War, as well: Lettrism, Concrete Poetry, Fluxus, Happening, Pop-art and Conceptual Art.
There existed an interesting and fruitful exchange of information and publications with Sohm Archive which emphasized its rich collection of the Fluxus movement and Happenings as its specialty and published a significant monograph Fluxus and Happenings in 1970. The owner of this archive, Hans Sohm, was especially interested in collecting documents and other material concerning signalism and Yugoslav avant-garde on the whole. Since about ten years ago, this archive has become part of the Statsgalerie in Stuttgart.
One of the largest archives, if not the largest, specialized in Concrete and Visual Poetry (with a separate section devoted to Mail Art) is the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry in Miami Beach, Florida. Up to my knowledge, the most complete and best presentation of Signalism abroad is found in the Sackner Archive.

*
Quite a number of Signalist publications was donated to the Library of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts which formed a legacy in the end of 1988. More information about this legacy registered as no. PB19 can be found in Special Libraries in the Library of Serbian Academy of Sciences by Dr Tatjana Filipovic-Radulaski, Bibliotekar No.3-4, July-December 1989, pp 63-64.
A fund of Signalist Editions was established in the Library at the Faculty of Philology, Belgrade, in 1991.
Towards the end of 1992, a large number of books and other material were given to the library of Matica Srpska, it is being classified and saved as a separate library collection named Neo-avant-garde - Documentation of Miroljub Todorovic. More detailed information about this library is found in the following: N.Popov, Secrets of Signalism (New collection in the Library of Matica Srpska), Dnevnik, 21. January 1993. and R(adivoj) D(oderovic) Neo-avant-garde - Documentation of Miroljub Todorovic, in BMS, Vesti (Journal of Matica Srpska Library) No. 3, January 1993.
On September 19th., 1994., a contract was signed with the National Library “Stevan Sremac” in Nis on founding a donation Signalism - Special Fund of Miroljub Todorovic, in memory of Nadezda (Nadica) Todorovic. Special value of this donation compared to those already mentioned, is that, besides books, journals, catalogues etc. it will comprise manuscripts, original works (Visual Poetry, Mail art), photocopies and originals of letters and other documents concerning Signalism as Serbian (Yugoslav) creative movement. (See the paper V.P., Valuable Gift, Narodne Novine, 20. September 1994, Nis.

**
See more about Visual Poetry in my books Signalism, Nis 1979. and Diary of Avant-garde, Belgrade 1990. as well as in the books by Zivan Zivkovic: Orbits of Signalism, Belgrade 1985, Testimonies about Avant-garde, Belgrade 1992, Signalism: Genesis, Poetics and Artistic Practise, Paracin 1994 and in the book: Essays about Signalism by Ljubisa Jocic, Zemun 1994.

***
That is how visual poems (drawings) were obtained from Raoul Hausmann, founder of the Berlin Dada (1918) and discoverer of photomontage. Already very old, few months before his death (February 1971), he sent two original works to be published in Signal. For more information about this event see my text Raoul Hausmann in Signal, Diary of Avant-garde pp. 10-13.

(From the book PLANETARY CULTURE, 1995)

Miroljub Todorović

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