Hungarian Pilot projects

In Hungary we aimed at community building and fostering social inclusion and cohesion in the underprivileged 20th district of Budapest by including big parts of the locals in different social art projects.

News Flotation

A one-day-event was created with the aim of raising awareness in showing how cultural life in an area can be woken up.

This Mini-Project was intended to lead the following, bigger projects with local participants from the area which were introduced to the community in the form of several short performances. The project was built upon already existing non-formal cultural groups that play a major role in the everyday lives of Pesterzsébet natives and thus provide local cultural life.

We used the existing activities of the groups, so, after mixing in some extra material for our purposes, the final performance spoke of local cultural life and was largely performed by the participants of these activities as well. The local participants and viewers thoroughly enjoyed the day and we achieved the goal of raining interest in the upcoming social art events.

The tale of a 100 Voices

In order to strengthen local communities’ ties to the district we conceptualized the alluring modern folktale of Pesti Erzsi (a character created from the name of the district: Pesterzsébet) fleeing from the anger of a brute evil.

The fable is comprised of the very fabric of the district’s consciousness: urban legends specific to the area, memorable real-life stories and happenings, historical memories, widely known present-day characters, and the personification of the 20th district. The complex pilot project combined sound recording, silent movie, exhibition and theatrical performance.

Following an extended period of research, interviewing local key figures, studying the history of the area and identifying those segments of the resident’s lives the that are most widely shared; the script of the completed folktale was exhibited at a busy street of the district in an upcycled shipping container. People entering this container were able to get acquainted with the project, look through the script, and if they wished, participate by reading out a segment of the tale and recording their voice. This way we were able to create an acoustic version of the fable. To accompany this, a short silent movie was created by students of the local Vocational School of Pesterzsébet in a three months’ workshop about filmmaking, full of the familiar features, faces and locations of the district.

On the day of the exhibition a theatre play, as a prequel to the duplex of the recording and the movie, was performed, giving a brief retelling of the birth of the idea of the project itself. This comedic prelude starred recognizable local figures such as local heads of the community, mentioned local associations and clubs, and provided a clear cut frame for the performance as well.

This is how The Tale of a 100 Voices, where the local story of Pesti Erzsi is being recounted by local residents, was created. With over 300 people in the audience it was a huge success. We grew very fond of the local people in the process and we hope they have, too.

Silkaquarium

The Silkaquarium pilot project is an experimental fuse of puppet show and documentary theatre.

The performance of the pilot project is manifested through several different forms of puppetry and traditional theatre that inhibit the stage at the same time. The screenplay written for the project is an exhibition of the history of the 20th district of Budapest through the story of a local resident’s life.We built upon the once vivid puppet culture of the district to create a country-wide puppet convention where professionals from all over Hungary were able to meet, share their experience and connect with the district’s local professionals.

An important goal of the project was to raise awareness of the local, district-specific history among young people. The project hopefully helped to reformulate the negative image local residents themselves have of their living environment and break down the negative stereotypes regarding the district - there is great community life in the area, with up-to-date and modern art.